This year for Christmas I’m giving my mom the same old thing. It’s the perfect gift for her, and she couldn’t be happier.
Maybe you’ve engaged in this yearly form of cultural madness known as finding “the perfect” gift” for that someone special on your Christmas list. It’s madness because many of the people on our shopping list already have everything they need and most everything they want.
So what do we do? Forego a present? In our culture? No way! We shop until we’re exhausted, broke, or both, and wind up with something less than perfect. Across America closets are filled with never-used sweaters, shirts, bottles of cologne (or perfume), knickknacks, ties and other junk. They usually wind up in the trash, at the yard sale or thrift store.
My mom is an impossible person to shop for. She is 85, financially secure, in good health, and a happy person. There is nothing she needs and nothing she wants. Really! To make matters worse, for gift-giving anyway, several years ago Mom and Dad downsized from a enormous family house to a cozy two-bedroom apartment. Anything they need they have on hand — or in the storage unit across town.
So what could I possibly get Mom for Christmas that she would like. And several years ago it hit me. Her mother, my grandmother, lived frugally on Social Security after being widowed in her 60s. She had little money to spare, but always found money to make a Christmas donation to Salvation Army.
My gift to Mom? A donation to the Salvation Army in my grandmother’s name. It’s been “the perfect gift” for Mom since 2006.
This year, discover the “perfect” gift for everyone on your list: A charitable donation in their name. It will go to someone who really does have needs and wants!
Here are some ideas for gift donations:
ELCA Good Gifts — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has an online catalog of gifts you can make to needy people, including livestock, mosquito nets, a water well for a village, a microloan, a scholarship, malaria treatment.
Heifer International — Purchase livestock and other items for families in the developing world.
The Salvation Army — Doing good around the world. Nice folks.
Don’t forget your local congregation, soup kitchen, food pantry and social-service agency. They need your help, too!