During the holiday season, it’s a challenge to keep things simple and focus on what’s important; to resist the commercial propaganda surrounding you, while still being generous and giving to those you love.

This year, tradition, or guilt, or (hopefully!) a generous spirit will compel many of us to buy gifts. Budget constraints will compel many of us to get creative. Handmade gifts are great for the crafty giver, but for those without the dexterity or the extra time, there’s a simpler way to send a gift packed with heartfelt meaning. Many charitable organizations’ websites have gifts that you can order online! You can give to those you love, and at the same time, bless someone across the world. As a bonus, you’ll avoid those drivers with extra seasonal road rage, and the overabundance of shoppers in aisles and checkout lines.

There are many worthy causes, and here are just a few suggestions:

1. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization that battles poverty and injustice for children worldwide, and works with their families and their communities to help them reach their full potential. World Vision’s online gift catalog includes “Maximum Impact” gifts, which are a wide range of items from coffee and mugs, to plush toys, and silk scarves. You can even tell a friend that instead of buying them a gift you bought a family in need a goat or chicken through World Vision, which will give them a sustainable source of nutrition and income. Plus, the animals multiply to help more families in need!

2. NightLight International fights against human trafficking and prostitution in Thailand and the US, addressing not only the resulting issues, but also the causes. NightLight’s vision is to enable sexually exploited women and children to discover their dignity, and achieve holistic transformation.
NightLight’s online store offers jewelry made from silver, semi-precious stones, pearls and decorative beads by artisans from Thailand. And prices are affordable, starting around $15, with tons of items in the $30 range.

3. Sari Bari fights against the sex trade in India by providing employment to women who are either trapped in the sex trade, or are vulnerable to it.
Sari Bari’s online store contains colorful, vintage items handmade from Indian saris, including bags and blankets. Each item is marked with the name of the woman who made it.

Remembering the struggles that others face worldwide, it’s impossible to not count your blessings. Happy gifting!


Photo Credit: http://livetravelcity.com/2011/12/city-travel-plus-design/