My kids are spoiled. Even this year, though in general we have all cut back due to budgetary restrictions, they were spoiled. We have had 2 family Christmases already and with a house that needs packing, I’m shocked at the amount of “stuff” they have and I remind them that they are blessed and fortunate to have so many toys, food on the table, comfy beds to sleep in, and their healthy growing bodies.
In an effort to remind them to see beyond their own little worlds, we try to use various community and charitable programs over the holidays that they can participate in. We donate food to food drives, drop our dimes in the Salvation Army kettles, pick out toys for police-sponsored toy drives for local shelters, and load up shoe boxes to send overseas – all in a hopefully successful attempt to get the monkeys to think beyond themselves. There are so many opportunities to give beyond our families, our friends, beyond the material and just-for-the-sake-of gifts. This collection of stocking stuffers and small gifts are perfect for twice-the-giving – for the recipient who has more than enough they’re a token, and also for the programs and individuals they support, the resources are invaluable. We can all change the world a little at a time.
1) Suetables Ornaments, Hospital for Sick Children, $25: These 3″ silverplate ornaments are tucked into a SickKids branded gift box. 20% of the sales goes to the Hospital for Sick Children. Not only will they look pretty on a tree, they’ll help raise money in honour of a boy who survived cancer through Sick Kids.
2) Samaritan’s Purse – Gift Catalogue, Samaritan’s Purse has many options available for impactful gift-giving. I personally prefer their physical catalogue – it tells you how much it costs to do so much for one school, one family, etc. If you call their toll-free number to donate, they’ll also send you a gift enclosure card that you can personalize to say what you’ve donated on your recipient’s behalf. (Online, you can opt for an email) Whether you support their food programs, women’s programs, health and education program, or emergency relief program, you know your money is going to a good cause. For example, for only $15, you can provide a week’s supply of life-saving food. (Personally, in the past, we’ve opted for the “Small Animals” option – supplying small animals -chickens, rabbits, etc – for families to raise for food.) You can also “Pack A Shoebox” online.
3) WWF Wildlife Adoptions, Save A Polar Bear, $40. With a wildlife adoption, you get a whole adoption kit – personalized certificate, plush toy and collector card, gift bag and of course all the details on the program. I think these would make great stocking stuffers for kids while helping them learn about our environment and the animals around us.
4) Toronto Fire Fighters Calendar, Princess Margaret Hospital, $26 – This one the ladies will like. Featuring real Toronto fire fighters, every purchase and donation made to The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation through this calendar will benefit the Fire Fighters’ Cancer Research Fund. Eye candy and a good cause – who can complain?
5) Kernels Gift Card, Make-A-Wish Foundation; Until the end of December, Kernels Popcorn will make a donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation with the purchase of any gift card (plastic or virtual). What a sweet (or savoury) deal! While you’re picking up one for your friend, you can pick up one for yourself – they don’t expire and until the 31st, they help bring a child’s wish come true!