Posts Tagged ‘holiday shopping’

Stockings With Care

It’s the time of year, of course, when we are focused on giving and the warmth of hearth and home, family and friends. And we know, intellectually at least, that there are plenty of folks without hearth, home, family, or friends.

Stockings With Care is a charitable organization in New York (please look for similar groups where you live…or start one) that works with coalitions that assist families and youth in homeless shelters and outreach programs, and has social workers get “Wish Lists for Santa” from kids in families that won’t be able to afford to celebrate their holiday. Those lists are given to Stockings With Care and assigned to individual volunteer Santas (this is where you come in) who then go out to shop and make sure EVERY kid gets at least two things on his or her list and has at least three wrapped gifts to open on Christmas morning. Corporate donors fill some of the financial gap, but the need for Santas is higher for ever this year.

Volunteer here to be a Santa. They also need Santa Captains, sorting Santas (all the gifts get dropped off to a central location for distribution), phone Santas, last-minute shopping elves, and wrappers in Santa’s workshop December 10-13.

If you don’t have a home, it makes sense you might worry that Santa won’t know where to find you. It’s nice to take that fear away.

Holiday Shopping

SO here we are…Black Friday…the day you’re supposed to go out, fight through traffic and crowds, elbow your way to sale tables, and consume consume consume. And don’t get me wrong, finding wonderful, thoughtful gifts for loved ones is a beautiful thing.

My immediate family decided many years ago to stop buying winter holiday gifts for one another. There had been a few too many sweaters that got relegated to the back of the closet or housewares that were close to a design theme but not quite something any of us would pick for ourselves. Instead of shipping cross country boxes of almost good gifts or close but no cigar gadgets and gizmos, we began to give donations to our own favorite charities in one another’s name. We then send a simple card, letting the family know what good causes will benefit this year. Some have been consistent, giving to the same charities each year, and some of us mix it up each year, but since we are all lucky and blessed and have enough stuff, it actually seems more in-line with the spirit of the season to give to those who have greater need.

This may not be a solution for you, and that’s neither good nor bad, it is just a way to think about it all. My mom still sends along “stocking” stuffer gifts, and I feel good about sending my nephew things I think are funky or fun, but the excess is trimmed, and I like the way that feels.

However, if you have shopping to do, and most of us do, maybe there are some creative shopping options where a portion of your purchase price can go to a non-profit organization, or maybe you buy two of such-and-such a toy or game and donate one to a shelter or other program for needy kids, or drop off a bag of toys and food to an animal shelter while you’re out making merry…

I’ll also, as the next month wears on, occasionally suggest some shopping ideas I think bear considering—organizations that give back. For instance, Global Sistergoods, an online resource that “brings you the finest in fair trade, eco-friendly, and handmade gifts, jewelry, handbags, accessories, children’s clothing and toys, baskets, and home decor items. All of their fair trade products are made by women from around the world, and offer the high quality and one-of-a-kind feel that today’s socially responsible customer demands. Each fair trade product is as unique as the woman who makes it, and each purchase helps women throughout the world earn a living wage and build beautiful, thriving communities.” You can shop by country or by searching on category of gift, knowing that you are supporting local artisans and putting economic nourishment into developing communities.

Now THAT works.