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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Three Little Pigs

I got this catalogue in the mail today.

Now, I love me some MCC (Mennonite Central Committee). For those who are unfamiliar with this organization, I consider them to be da bomb of international charities. My Mennonite roots smile with pride, but more than that, I really appreciate MCC's operating budget and the super-high percentage of funds that go directly to "the people".

But, this is more about the catalogue. I know that World Vision sends out similar mail. I'm sure a bunch of other international charities follow suit.

Buy a cow for a family. Dig a well for a village. Sponsor a medical clinic.

All fantastic things. All things that mean so much more than a SpongeBob SquarePants Play-Doh set or an MP3 player with cushion-ey earphones. All things that are much more meaningful than stuff.

But, at what point does the giving of a gaggle of geese become a little over the top?

We are really scaling down our Christmas giving this year. I don't think we'll spend more than $20 on Ellie. Richard and I won't be buying each other gifts AT.ALL. The only other kid that makes the gift list is sweet nephew Zach. But, there are the grandparents and therapists and caregivers who are so very important to us, and I really want to say thank you to them through a small gift.

But, does a cheap Wal-Mart Christmas card and a handwritten note saying, "We bought a pig on your behalf!" express Thank You?

Maybe it does. Maybe I'm being too skeptical. Maybe I like Starbucks gift cards too much.
How do you strike a balance between "commercialized" Christmas gift-giving and "unselfish" gift giving?


Cassandra said...

I think that is a great idea to do a gift of a written note and a "cow donation" or something! I would absolutly love that.

Bill Schroder said...

I've been wondering the same. When you come to a conclusion let me know.


Iris said...

As a teacher, the most memorable gift I have received from a student was when a particular student and his family bought a years supply of 'water' for a little boy and his family in Haiti on my behalf. That was super special.