Sunday, December 16, 2007

christmas giving


I've had company for the past week and a half, and it has been super fun. I am exhausted. My 3 out-of-town guests and I had a lot of fun nights out, walked all over San Francisco, spent way too much money, and watched the entire 3rd season of LOST. Hoo boy; I can't wait for that to start up again.

Today I decided to face reality- ibym "reality"... "a messy house, a million loads of laundry, and a to-do list about a mile long." I didn't actually get to my laundry today because of a lack of quarters and the bank being closed, but I did manage to buy Christmas cards, go to the drugstore, plan my menu and gather my recipes for Christmas dinner, holidazzle le blog, give myself a mani/pedi, and
completely start and finish my Christmas shopping.

That's right folks, with the exception of one or two homemade gifts, I decided to embrace my new hippie surroundings and de-consumerize this year.
No shopping. My family is by no means wealthy, but we all have plenty and don't lack for you know... things, and stuff, so I thought that maybe the world could be a better place if I used the money I would normally spend on buying them gifts and donate it to causes that I thought they would appreciate. I did a lot of research, actually, and found some really great charities, so I thought I would link 'em here in case anyone else would be interested in similar giving. It's a perfect gift for the people in your life that have everything- plus an added bonus of good karma.

for Dad and Stepmom: The VVA Fund, which supports Vietnam Veterans. My dad served in the Air Force in Vietnam, and the VVA has a great operating budget- using only around 1-2% of their income (the legal limit is 25% in order to call yourself a not-for-profit organization) for operating expenses. The Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund (VVAF) supports 69 projects in 25 states, specifically focusing on Disability Assistance for disabled veterans and projects supporting Homeless veterans.

for Mom and Stepdad: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since they recently purchased land in southwest North Carolina and intend to retire there, they will be utilizing the Park on a regular basis. I signed them up to be "Wildflower Friends," and their gift will help preserve, restore, and enhance the park's natural and cultural resources.

for sister and brother-in-law (on Mom's side): The SPCA of Columbus, Ohio. Their family are big animal lovers and have rescued 3 pets already. Their donation goes toward abandoned pets getting immunizations and adoption into good homes.

for sister and brother-in-law (on Dad's side): The Sierra Club, which is the nation's oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization. They grow lots of their own vegetables, make their own wine, and are really interested in organic farming and sustaining the environment.

Uncle Al and Auntie Sandy: Young Life Northwest Houston. All their clan has been extremely involved in YL for years. Ask anyone in the country who has ever been to a meeting, and they probably know Uncle Al (if by reputation only). Their donation will fund YL programs right in their neighborhood, benefiting the kids they actually work with.

Cousin Julia: Defeat Autism Now! Jule has a big heart and a special affinity for children with special needs. DAN!
is dedicated to educating parents and clinicians regarding biomedically-based research, appropriate testing, and safe and effective interventions for autism for those parents and clinicians who do not regard psychotropic drugs as the best or only means of treating autistic patients.

Cousin Justin: was too slow getting back to me regarding a charity he specifically wanted, so I chose for him, and my personal favorite is the Sesame Street Workshop. Sesame Street Workshop funds innovative and engaging educational content for television, radio, books, magazines, interactive media, and outreach for children in over 120 countries.

Step-grandparents: UNICEF, another on of my favorite charities. UNICEF has a great website, including an "inspired gift" page where you can choose EXACTLY what you want your money to fund and send the honorary an e-card telling them what they paid for. The gift I made in their name will fund 100 children two crucial measles vaccinations. Measles kills over 800,000 children a year (and leaves some survivors with lifelong disabilities)-- can you believe $46 can save 100 of them?

So, happy Christmas to all. I love my family; they are all smart and loving and giving, and I know they will all enjoy sacrificing a candle or a DVD to make our world a little cleaner, safer, and/or more educated.


Anonymous Tom said...

Nicely divided, Jamie!

As for the never-ending saga of "What Will Be on TV in 2008?". Lost will air the only eight episodes they got in the can before the strike starting THURSDAY, January 31st. (They are taking the Grey's Anatomy slot.)

These eight were not written with the strike in mind... they were supposed to run the whole season uninterrupted. But due to the strike, it's going to just... well... end.

ANd I didn't know Uncle Al was involved in Young Life! I'm having scary high school flashbacks...

December 17, 2007 5:02 AM  
Blogger Julia said...

Thanks Jamie! You too have a big heart and I think you did a great job this Christmas.

December 21, 2007 9:31 AM  

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