Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Making the holidays more green and less red

So come this Friday morning, this is where I won't be. Not that we ever were a family that went overboard for Christmas. My poor children, now grown, not a single video game ever came their way on Christmas morn. Somehow, they survived.

Throughout this season, I hope to share some ideas for making the holidays more meaningful, more green, and more loving. Please feel free to chime in and share your good ideas, too.

Let's call this first installment: Charitable Giving.

Most of the people I know don't actually need very much new right now. My two lovely sisters and I often talk about getting rid of stuff, not accumulating more. Perhaps you know folks like that, too.

So how about putting your gift money toward a meaningful charitable gift in honor of a family member or friend? Think about what your loved one values, and pick a charity that reflects that.

Not sure which charity is a good one? There are some excellent research tools on line. Check out Charity Navigator, or the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Guide, for a start.

So here's my riff:

For that friend who is always a gracious hostess: a donation to a homeless shelter would be fitting.

For the art lover: support a small local museum or an arts and crafts program for needy kids.

For the gourmet cook: donate to a food pantry or a soup kitchen.

For the animal lover: the SPCA could use some help.

You get the idea.

We've all heard that times are pretty tough for non-profits right now. So please consider doing some real good this year. And you won't even have to get in line at 4:00 a.m. in order to do it.

(Hint to my family members: as a teacher, I've had a soft spot for Girls Hope Boys Hope for some years. Also, my little village church is struggling to pay its bills. And their roof needs fixing.)