Thanksgiving is over, and now the Christmas shopping has "officially" began.
But this year is different.
This year we will not celebrate with overindulgence and abundance.
At least not in the traditional paper & bow wrapped excessive gift-giving sort of way.
But we will give.
A little something for each of our family members, and a lot of something for those in the world who don't even have the basic necessities of life, let alone a list of extravagant Christmas wants.
I am being very deliberate with my shopping. No last minute gift cards, no random purchases just to have something to wrap and give.
My goal is to only purchase gifts that will help others. One way to do this is to make a donation in the name of someone on my gift list. The list is endless of great organizations & charities we can give to, but on the top of my list are
Water For Christmas - drilling and providing a life source in villages who don't have access to clean water.
Rohi Childrens Organization (an orphanage & school we support and have visited in Kenya). They have a gift catalog where you can purchase specific gifts based on your desires and budget - like goats, desks, bicycles, etc. You can contact them about getting a gift catalog.
If it were just up to me I would probably stop there. I can be quite extreme sometimes, but my darling husband helps to keep me a little more balanced. I think he was picturing our kids on Christmas morning reading a little note about how we built a chicken coop in Rwanda as their Christmas gift. And as much as they really do seem to be getting it this year, they are still kids. And gifts are good. Just not in the excessive, over-indulgent, above-all-else sort of way.
I'm convinced we can have it both ways.
So we will also be buying some material gifts to give. I'm still trying make my dollars work extra hard. There are a lot of places out there that give all proceeds to great causes. And when that's not an option, I will at least be purchasing fair trade items, knowing that my purchase provided a decent living wage to someone.
I will not be going to big box stores. Not once. That's my goal, anyways!
At the risk of my family members potentially seeing some of their gifts ahead of time, I'm going to list some of the great places I've found for some unique gifts.
Check out these yummy soaps from Zambia at Samba Naturals
These tiny dolls made by HIV+ women in africa at Little Travellers
Or how about Tom's Shoes who gives a pair of brand new shoes to someone in need with every pair purchased.
The best part about this kind of shopping?
It's done from the comfort of my home.
On my couch.
In my pajamas.
Doesn't get much better than that!