The Season for Giving — 64 days and counting

posted by Andrea | 10/22/2010

I’ve been thinking a lot about clutter free gifts {again!}

No, I’m not a scrooge and I don’t hate gifts — but I do hate all the needless clutter and overspending that seems to accompany every holiday season.

Last year, Dave and I gave {and received} plenty of great gifts, but one thing we decided to give everyone on our list was a donation {made out in their name} to the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee {CRWRC}.

We felt this was a great organization to support, and we loved how many different gift options they offered. We had fun, we got creative, and we gave every person on our list something that paired nicely with one of the tangible gifts we gave them.

For example…

  • We gave Dave’s parents a Brita water filtration pitcher and paired it with a donation for a “clean water well” which benefited an entire community in a third-world country.
  • We gave my parents {mostly my dad} a gift card to Lowes and paired it with a donation for “natural disaster relief” — which again, benefited an entire community.
  • We gave Dave’s brother {a college student} a huge basket full of junk food, pop, snacks, candy, etc. and paired it with a donation for “food and nutrition for 2 children”
  • Ect. ect…you get the picture!

The CRWRC has everything from  $1 seedlings to $100 sewing machines and everything inbetween. Check out their gift catalog to see all the many ways you can give back AND give great clutter-free gifts this year!

Want More Ideas to Give Back?

Operation Christmas Child:

Do you have a shoe box, some extra toiletries, and a few small toys? Kristen from We Are THAT Family has all the instructions on how you can give back to a child who may not receive any gifts this year.

Kid’s Food Basket:

This is an amazing program in West Michigan that offers meals to hundreds of needy children. I had the opportunity to volunteer with Kid’s Food Basket and can attest to the huge volume of food the give away EVERY DAY! Katie from Kitchen Stewardship recently spent some time there with her son…who requested to give back for his 5th birthday!
I’m sure there is a similar program in your area so pick one and schedule a time for your family, friends, or coworkers to give back.

Cards that Give:

Cards the Give is a website that allows you to purchase holiday cards from select non-profit organizations, so you can stock up on all your holiday cards while supporting a great organization!

And a few MORE ideas:

  • Pick an angel off the Angel Tree in the mall
  • Donate a book {or 10} to your local library
  • Donate a toy to your child’s nursery, daycare, church, etc.
  • Bake some delicious treats for your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, or for the community bake sale
  • Bring bags of non-perishable food to a local food pantry
  • Sponsor a Thanksgiving Meal for a family in need
  • Sponsor an entire family and purchase gifts for all their children
  • Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter

I know times are tough, but the holiday season is the season for GIVING…and I’m certain there is something you can do to give back this year. Even if you have zero room in your budget for extra expenses, you can still donate your time — or better yet, teach your children to give back by asking them to forgo one if their gifts and instead give a gift to someone in need.

Do you have a great “giving back” gift? Tell me about it and I’ll add it to my list!

Oh, and feel free to check out all my other clutter-free holiday ideas…after all, Christmas is only 64 days away!

Filed under: LifeGiving Back

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  1. Stephanie


    I completely forgot to post that I am really loving the Idea of the shoebox. I cant wait to go shopping for it!


  2. Stephanie


    Hey I am a new follower One Red Daisy recommended your site to me and I am soooooo in love with lists, plans, and organizing!!! I am actually starting up my own Meme on Sunday feel free to check out my page I have posted what it will be all about!! Glad to follow such a great blog cant wait to see what you post in the future!


  3. Kristen @ JoyfullyThriving


    What a good reminder, Andrea! Growing up, we always bought something for the Angel Tree and I try to make regular contributions to our local Food Pantry, also sponsored by church. Whether it is CHRISTmas or not, it is always important to share our blessings!