You have likely heard of or even participated in the growing movement of giving to charity in someone’s honor, as a Christmas gift to that person. Last year, my family adopted this concept but decided to put our own personal twist on it.
My husband and I came up with the idea to purchase a community water well in a developing country, using our Christmas funds. The money that we would’ve spent on gifts for our family and for each other all went to purchase this well. We asked our family members to help us out, too, by contributing to our water well fund instead of using that money to buy us something.
Although our decision was to not purchase gifts, we didn’t want to miss out on the fun of giving our loved ones something to unwrap on Christmas morning. My husband and I ended up making small gifts for each other and our family.
Some gifts cost us nothing to make, and some cost a bit of money – but we were still spending much less than we would have on any other Christmas, leaving us with a large sum to contribute to our water well. I crafted earrings, sewed a necktie, created a painting, and we made salmon jerky. My musician husband wrote and recorded songs for his parents as well as mine, gifting them with compact discs of his recording.
On Christmas, we discovered that our family not only contributed a generous amount for our water well, but also jumped on board with the handmade gifts, creating them for my husband and I! We were so surprised by the creative, quirky and unique gifts that they created – especially the typically non-crafty men in my family.
That Christmas, we felt so blessed. We experienced both the joy of collaborating to provide a well for a village that desperately needed it, and the rare beauty of creating handmade gifts for one another. Together, these things really made for one of the most memorable and special Christmas celebrations ever.
Do you want to try a new spin on Christmas gift giving? If you’re interested in pooling everyone’s contributions, here are some gift ideas for you and your loved ones to buy together:
- A community well: $2,326
- Oxen: $400
- A dairy cow: $350
- Stock-a-Stable (16 farm animals!): $750
- A classroom: $2,424
- Beekeeping tools: $279
For other charitable gift ideas, check out Food for the Hungry‘s Christmas Gift Catalog. There are also plenty of options that cost much less, if you’re working with a tighter Christmas budget. You might even consider sponsoring a child on behalf of your whole family, for $35 a month. Whatever you decide to give for Christmas this year, I hope you will embrace the joy of giving!