Recently, a friend asked me what gift he should give someone he rarely speaks to and isn't actually fond of. I couldn't help but think "why bother with a gift at all, then?". He should rather turn the holidays into an opportunity to improve the relationship, and even better, help someone in the world who needs it. So, this season, if you are in a financial position to do so, I encourage you to make a gesture of reconciliation to someone in your life, and then seal it with a donation to a charity!
Here are some of my favorite charities, if you don't have one in mind:
• World Vision
• The Girl Effect
• Amnesty International
• For All Women
• The Animal Rescue Site
• Leukemia Research Foundation
• Bone Marrow Registry
I've decided that it's more important for me to celebrate the holidays this year through genuine demonstrations of love, rather than materialistic and sometimes empty exchanges of "gifts". So, I've asked my close friends and family to (gulp) forego gifts for me and to instead make a charitable donation. More than any gift that I may receive (despite my unfettered joy in receiving), I love the idea that some precious person in the world will receive much needed support, aid, attention, and yes, maybe, a gift instead.
I'm in the midst of preparing my annual holiday newsletter, so keep your eyes open for that!