Wednesday, December 19, 2012

non-traditional christmas gifts

my grandmother has a miserable combination of dementia and alzheimer's. there are some days when one part of her memory is off and other days when her brain is affected by the other disease. it's rough going. she doesn't know who i am. if she gets something new, she does not understand what is happening. she will usually declare that it is not hers and promptly give it to someone else. in her mind, everyday she eats new things because she can't remember ever eating it before. she meets new people...everyone including her family is a stranger. some days my grandpa is still alive and is just out running errands. those days are great ones. 

i love my grandmother and i remember her heart and mind the way she used to be. if you haven't read it yet, read "my life in quilts" to know a piece of my life where my grandmother is concerned. 

i want to honor her at christmas but i know that regular gift giving is out of the question. my husband's grandmother is suffering in a similar way so traditional gifts for her have become difficult. to find a ways to both honor our grandmothers and perpetuate their heritage, i'm giving them the gift of giving and donating in their names to some of my favorite charities. this is perfect for someone for whom a traditional gift is no longer feasible. beyond that, it is something i'm doing for my kids as well. let's face it...our kids probably get enough gifts at christmas to last the year through. i can certainly substitute one of their toys for food for a child somewhere else in the world to keep them from starving. again, even at their little ages, they are filled consumed with "first world problems". i'll take any opportunity possible to start to change their world focus.

in case you are looking for something non-traditional to give for christmas, here are my favorite charities to support, not only at christmas but the whole year through.

compassion international

my husband and i both sponsored kids with compassion before we were married. since then we have continued that tradition together. we have pictures of our little sponsored kids on the refrigerator and my kids ask about them all the time. they are surrogate members of our family. for $38.00 a month, you can give a little one a better chance to live without struggling for basic necessities. there are so many kids that need help.  sponsorship can start during christmas and continue the whole year through. 

world help

this organization has so many ways to give. you can buy school uniforms, wheelchairs, clean water, food, animals, bibles, anything that suits your desire to give. visit their "gifts of hope" link for dozens of great ideas. looking for something unique for your family? they also have a link to buy gifts created in third world countries to support their local incomes. it's a win for everyone involved.

for unique christmas gifts from third world countries:

samaritan's purse

i love samaritan's purse. i love their "operation christmas child." we participate in giving the christmas boxes every year and i love involving my kids in the shopping and stuffing for other children. beyond the christmas boxes, samaritan's purse offers dozens of other cool christmas gifts. buy hot meals, milk, fruit trees, build a house, and everything in between. if you have the means, you can even pay to fly a child to receive heart surgery. their line up of gifts is extensive. find something to give to honor a loved one today.

heifer international

these are great for christmas because it is a simple, one time gift. give a flock of chicks for $20.00. rabbits, honeybees, geese, a piece of a cow, anything could help a family survive and thrive for years to come. 

whichever way you choose to give, you cannot go wrong when you think of others and remember how privileged we are. we are so blessed. christmas is a great time to take time to bless others and to teach our children to do the same. my grandmother was a generous giver. this is the perfect way to honor her legacy. how about you? do you have someone you could honor today?

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