As a writer, I’d love for you to give my novel Dream or Destiny to everyone on your Christmas list who enjoys mystery or romance novels. For other genres, I recommend books by my clients and books by authors who have visted my blog.
You may also want to give a gift that will give the recipient the power to change lives. A gift certificate from Kiva.org provides the funds for the recipient to make a loan to an entrepreneur in the developing world. An entrepreneur in the developed world might need a loan of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars to start or expand a business. An entrepreneur in a developing country may need less than a hundred dollars to start or grow a business that will lift them out of poverty. The recipient of your gift certificate can make a life-changing loan to the entrepreneur of their choice, and when that loan is repaid, use the funds to make another loan. The cycle can be repeated endlessly, making your gift of $25 or $100 priceless. I made my first Kiva loan as part of Blog Action Day: Poverty.
Another good idea: Charity Checks. You can order giving certificates that can be used to donate to any IRS-qualified charity in the US, and there are 800,000 qualified charities. You purchase the certificate and get the tax deduction. You give the certificate as a gift, and the recipient then determines what charity to donate to. Unlike donating to a specific charity in someone else’s name, with Charity Checks, you know the recipient will be happy with the charity that receives the gift.
Comment added after reading Karen Swim’s post Santa Cause or the Grinch who Stole your Present?: I would recommend a charitable donation as a gift only to people close to you who you know would be happy with this. We do this in my family, but I would never suggest a business do this for a client nor would I do it to someone with whom I hadn’t discussed the idea in advance. I wasn’t clear enough and hadn’t thought through the implications until Karen brought them to my attention. Now back to the original post …
This is the time of year to give beyond our immediate circle. The Salvation Army’s red kettles are a symbol of the spirit of Christmas giving as well as an important means of raising funds to help those in need. I don’t go out to the malls and stores to shop so I miss the chance to drop something into a bright red kettle manned by a smiling bellringer. This year, I decided to be an online bellringer.
Thanks to Jon Swanson at Levite Chronicles for the inspiration. I didn’t know that I could be a bellringer for my own Online Red Kettle. If you do your Christmas shopping online, you can drop something into an online kettle and help the Salvation Army brighten the lives of those who need help this year.
Christmas celebrates the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who gave the ultimate gift of His life for our salvation. We can share a little of His love by our own giving to our loved ones and people we don’t know. May you enjoy a blessed season of peace on earth, goodwill toward men.