Give to Food Banks in Lieu of Christmas Gifts

Instead of buying Christmas gifts for people who already have everything they need, try donating some food to your local food bank. Send each person who might be thinking they will get a gift from you a note telling them that you gave their "gift" to a needy family this year and thank them! You can include a copy of the grocery receipt.

I do the same thing with the "Angel Trees" every year.

You can also volunteer time at the soup kitchens serving needy people a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner as a way of being thankful for all you have. This is a great lesson for kids as well.

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If you have the money, you can also adopt a family in your community and buy them things they need instead. This is a great project if several families get together since they would have more money to spend. Remember that some kids would appreciate a new pair of shoes rather than a toy! Believe it or not, some kids on the Angel Trees (teens especially) ask for under clothes. Just remember all that you have and imagine, if you needed underwear, that would embarrass you.

You will feel good about what you have done and know that you have helped the world be a kinder place for a family/children in need.

By Wolfbytez from Brownsville, OR

October 7, 20090 found this helpful

This is a great idea! I am not a rich person but my frugal ways have been good for my family. We have so much, we don't need any presents for the holidays. I would be very thankful if someone donated to a shelter, food bank or another organization instead of giving me a gift.

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October 8, 20090 found this helpful

From someone who just left Oregon (Salem) for a year, your post was like a note from an old friend!

The idea is a great one. Oregon now has more unemployed people than 47 other states, and the need is so great. When things in my life get too stressful, I go do something for someone else. It not only gets me out of my own head, but I see that others have it much worse and it keeps me humble.

From a person who has made less than 160k her whole working life, I know a thing or two about needing help. What I can't give to people in money, I do for with ideas and physical help when I can.

I hope your idea travels to all those who can help.

Poor But Proud

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October 8, 20090 found this helpful

I received a Christmas card mid-October last year which included a colorful one page "letter" giving a family update for the year, etc. It ended with the following post-script: "Our family has chosen not to exchange holiday gifts this year. In lieu of that we have adopted a local family in need for both Thanksgiving and Christmas."

The timing was considerate since I had not yet purchased and shipped gifts to these friends. I inquired to find out what the family they had adopted needed, purchased accordingly, and sent these items to my friends to give to the family they had chosen to assist.

I believe this is a more timely and forthright way of communicating a desire to not give or receive gifts in lieu of charitable donations. While the intent and outcome is the same it's a much softer approach than sending out notes saying in essence "I have given your gift to someone else" and avoids the embarrassment of receiving a gift from those you have chosen not to send to. And the big plus - it allowed me to actively participate in giving to the needy family as well!

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