Are You Stumped?
Figuring out what to give people for the holidays can be daunting. Of course, I’d love it if you’d shop handmade at The Costume Wrangler’s Closet. Shopping at small businesses, or locally owned businesses is also always a great idea too. However, there’s something else you can give this year, and it’s your support for any of the following charities.
- Planned Parenthood
- The Center for Reproductive Rights
- The Natural Resources Defense Council
- International Refugee Assistance Project
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- The Trevor Project
- The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
If that list of charitable organizations sounds familiar, it’s because I got it from John Oliver.
Uhh . . . I dunno . . .
Do you want to help out on a more local scale? Or perhaps you just don’t have the funds to donate, even as a gift in someone’s name. Try these ideas instead! You can give support in so many different ways.
- Make a dish for your local food pantry or soup kitchen (or donate non-perishable food items, too)! Try the website Feeding America to locate a food bank near you.
- Volunteer! I particularly like the website Volunteer Match because it can help you find volunteer opportunities that you didn’t know even existed.
- Donate gently used clothing, winter coats, toys, and books. There are a number of great organizations you can support through donating that stuff you were going to get rid of anyway. I’m a fan of Savers (they’re sponsored by the Big Brothers and Big Sisters), but there are tons of organizations out there.
- Make a pillowcase for a foster child. Mea Bernina Sewing & Vacuum Center in Lawrence, KS, is working with The Shelter, Inc, and hoping to provide 50 kids with pillows and pillowcases this year. It doesn’t seem like much, but if you were getting shuffled around from home to home, wouldn’t it be nice to have something as comforting as your own pillow? You can find other charities to donate pillowcases to through the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge.
- Make a monster doll for a kid in need. I’ve talked before about the great guys who run A Monster to Love. For every monster doll they sell, they donate one to a child in need. And you can help them out by making a monster doll! They take donations year round, too. So you don’t have to limit yourself to the December holiday season.
- Not a creative type? You can always donate materials too, like pillows for those pillowcases, and fabric for those monsters.
- Volunteer at your local pet shelter! Here’s a handy guide from PetFinder.com written by the Director of the ASPCA.
Why Donate in Someone’s Name as a Gift?
Every year I listen to a close friend lament over how she must buy gifts for certain family members. And every year, no matter how much effort or thought she puts into those gifts, the gesture is not only unappreciated, it’s often criticized. “I wanted this . . ” or “Well, you should have gotten this . . . “.
I say, if they’re going to complain anyway, why not make your money count toward something that will be appreciated by someone? Donate the money you would have spent on a gift to a charity in the person’s name. That way, when they whine about their gift, you can comfort yourself knowing the money is helping someone in need.
There’s also the bonus of donating in someone’s name to an organization that will then send the person a thank you note. This can be a poke in the ribs, like the 50,000 thank you’s Mike Pence will be getting from Planned Parenthood, or it can be something that truly honors someone special in your life.
Need Something Physical to Represent Your Charitable Gift?
You still want to wrap something up and stick it under the tree? No worries, I’ve got you covered. I made you this great certificate you can download for free! Wrap it up, text it, e-mail it, fold it into a paper airplane and launch it off a tall building, whatever. Use this Certificate of Awesome however you see fit. You can download the image below, or the PDF here.
Good luck this holiday season! Stay safe. Stay sane. And check back here for more survival tips and gift ideas.