All I Want for Christmas is...

Every year I see commercials about how Christmas is the season of giving and to do good for your fellow man. They are typically interspersed between ads for department stores' one day sales (until next week's one day sale) and places opening at 2am for people just getting out of bars who want to drunk shop. Every year I think "Yes. I am going to do some good," but never do anything. This year, I'm actually going to do something about it.

I have a really good life. I may not be the 1%, but it's still pretty nice. I buy myself things all year long so Christmas has never been a spend-hundreds-of-dollars-on-presents binge for me. Even as children, my parents spent a moderate amount on gifts for my sister and I. I plan on doing that for E, especially since his birthday is so close to the holidays. I can't really think of anything I want for Christmas this year anyway. I have a healthy baby boy, a wonderful husband, family who loves me, a small but great circle of friends, and a job that allows me to work less than 40 hours a week if needed. I am lucky.

This year I have told D and my family to give me cash instead of gifts. I'll be donating that cash to causes that are near and dear to me, things I feel very strongly about. With the exception of one, they will all be smaller organizations or individuals. With the larger organizations, there is always the question of where the donations actually go and how much truly trickles down to those the organization helps. There's actually a very famous charity that I will not be donating to because of their stance on homosexuality. While they do a lot of good for people, there are even more that could use their help but are being denied because of their sexual preference. See here and here for more about that. The only donation they would get from me would be to adopt a child/family from their Angel Tree.

I have been using GuideStar and Charity Navigator to help me figure out where to donate to. They're a great resource for smaller charities and to see exactly what a charitable organization does.

And in true little sister style, my kid sister is doing the same thing. This is one time where I don't mind her copying me. Hopefully reading this has inspired you to do something as well.