Think Before You Give

I am determined to continue trying to help my own children, and anyone else who will listen, think before they spend on Christmas gifts.  Retailers are trying to get you to spend, spend, spend, even if that means going into debt to do it.  The doorbuster sales might seem like wonderful bargains, but the retailers know what they are doing.  Therefore, having a plan is important.

At the same time, there are so many gifts given during the Christmas season that are done out of obligation.  How many people feel pressured to give a gift to a co-worker, paper boy, teacher, or youth pastor?  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it is done just out of obligation,and without thought, the gift just ends up sitting in a pile of clutter or getting thrown out.  We try to counter that by purchasing edible things, but even that maybe isn’t the best idea for everyone.

Here are a few ideas I have to help us all recognize the people we love in a way that will be meaningful to them and others.  This year why don’t you consider buying something out of a charity catalog in order to help someone in need?  You can then send your recipient a card telling them you have helped someone who really needs it in their honor.  I can tell you that I would be excited about that, and I know many others would as well. Here are a few ideas.

Compassion International’s Christmas Gift Catalog 

I have sponsored a child through Compassion since college and have been honored to be involved with their ministry to children in the name of Jesus.  Last year I posted a Christmas letter we received from our sponsored child in Brazil.  They are involved in many places in the world where they provide basic needs and also Bible teaching.  Their gift catalog has opportunities for support of some very basic needs.

Health Needs – You can provide Malaria protection for $18, or you can provide things like dental care for $32 and care for a child who has been injured for $50.

Water- We take water for granted, but in so many places in the world water is not a given.  You can get involved in various water projects for as little as $23.

Vulnerable Children- Many children live in places where they are exploited and abused.  $42 provides shelter for one month for one of these children

Those are a few of the things you can choose to purchase for your friends and family.

Here is where you can find this catalog –  Compassion Gift Catalog  (opens in new window)

World Vision’s Christmas  Catalog

Along the same line, World Vision is also helping people in poverty.  They have a wide range of things you can purchase for Christmas this year.

Animals – Animals provide food for people who desperately need it.   $25 gets two chickens and $75 gets a goat

Clothing – Clothing is needed in many places in order for kids to stay warm.  $30 can provide some clothing for some kids

Kids in the USA- They also have a way for you to give to children right here in the United States. Things like disaster response to vital supplies, like food,  can be donated this way.

Hunger – Food is something we all need to survive, but so many people get by with so little.  $30 can provide 5 fruit trees and $17 purchases seeds for a family.

Here is where you can find this catalog – World Vision Catalog (opens in new window)

The Jimmy Fund

If the ones above aren’t where you want to give your money, then maybe something like The Jimmy Fund is more meaningful.  The Jimmy Fund supports the fight against cancer in children and adults in Boston.  They sell Christmas gifts to raise money for the cause.  You can find their catalog here — Jimmy Fund Catalog (opens in new window)


This is not a complete list, but I hope I have given some ideas for ways to make this Christmas meaningful for everyone.  If you have one to add to this list, please comment below.  I am always curious about the things people are supporting.  There are many good causes out there.  The main thing is for us to be looking outward as we celebrate this Christmas.  I know I would be honored if someone donated something instead of bought some item I will never use.  No matter what we each decide to do, let’s agree to  think before we give.


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