Christmas was a little different this year. Under the Christmas tree, instead of presents wrapped in silver paper topped with bows, there were ducks. To be a bit more accurate, pictures of ducks.
This Christmas my mom decided to buy a duck in honor of each of my cousins and aunts and uncles from the Food for the Hungry Gift Catalog. To be honest, I wasn’t so sure how well their water fowl namesakes would be received. Traditionally, my mom has given gifts–gifts you get to keep–so I was a bit concerned that this change in the game plan might produce sad faces instead of happy faces when it came time to open presents.
My cousin Christian, 11, was the first to “open” his duck. He carefully read the card aloud to the large group of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandpas, grandmas, and family pets who were assembled for the gift opening.
“Your ducks will help a family start a new life,” he read. “Over the next year, they will produce hundreds of extra-large eggs packed with protein. Hatched ducklings can produce plenty of extra eggs, plus more ducklings that can be sold to buy vegetables and other essentials. ”
There was a brief pause as Christian took in the fact that the duck had been given to someone far away…someone who really needed it…and then he thoughtfully said, “Cool!” Cards were quickly opened around the room and my extended family began to excitedly talk about their ducks.
“I wonder who will get my duck?”
“Where do you think they live?”
“Do you think they have children my age?”
“How many ducks does each family get?”
So many great questions! Not only were the gifts that nobody got to keep well received, they were a highlight of the night.
I’m a big fan of giving fair-trade and fair wage products as gifts, but I had never seen someone give–or receive–an item from a gift catalog. This Christmas changed that. I saw the power of including someone else in giving. My mom could have easily donated those funds to FH without telling anyone. But, instead, she chose to include others in the joy of giving. She chose to include adults who are generous and young people who are still learning about what it means to share our God-given resources.
No matter the age of the recipient, they appreciated that they were included in helping others. I learned a lesson this Christmas. A lesson I wasn’t expecting. Giving on the behalf of someone else is an incredible way to include them in blessing another person. I know that seems like common sense, but I had to see this type of giving in action to understand its power. (Hey Mom, thanks for yet another lesson.) :)
As you enter the New Year, consider giving a gift that the recipient will never get. Visitwww.fh.org/giftcatalog
P.S. My birthday is on January 23!