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Submitted by Lani on Mon, 12/20/2010, 2:05pm
On Saturday in the NYTimes, Nicholas Kristoph writes, "So what would your aunt prefer as a holiday gift — another Mariah Carey CD, or the knowledge that she’s sending a little girl in Haiti to school for a year?" He follows, "Unless you’re cursed with the oddest aunt ever, the answer is probably the latter."
Gift giving is a strange thing. That is, I have strange feelings about it. I love spontaneous gestures of affection and care ("Oh, you need new boots? Yeah, well they're in the mail."), but I've become woefully inept at the strategic scheduled this-is-the-date-I-should-give-you-gifts gifts. Partly this is frankly due to pure lackadaisical indulgence on my part. But really, it's due to the fact that it's difficult for me to think of a good, mindful, consumerist purchase unless the need or desire of another person is immediately confronting me. And, of course, I'm always assuming that a gift=a material purchase that another keeps. And as I'm basically a big minimalist noreallyI'msureyoudon'tneedthatandeitherdoI kid, the mere thought of shopping in Soho for a bar of soap just to let someone know I care kinda makes me want to...yeah. So, here's a lovely idea - paying it forward as a gift. Giving abundance to others, because, frankly, the vast majority of the readers of this blog have exactly that...a life of abundance. A couple of notable causes that Kristoph mentions:
panzifoundation.org - Panzi Hospital "treats victims of sexual violence in eastern Congo...A $10 donation pays for transport to the hospital for a rape survivor; $100 pays for counseling and literacy and skill training for a survivor for a month."
nursefamilypartnership.org - "The Nurse-Family Partnership program is a stellar organization in the United States that works with first-time mothers to try to break the cycle of poverty. It sends nurses to at-risk women who are pregnant for the first time, continuing the visits until the child turns 2."
And if you want some wares and pretty things:
ArzuStudioHope.org - "Arzu employs women in Afghanistan to make carpets for export. The women get decent wages, but their families must commit to sending children to school and to allowing women to attend literacy and health classes and receive medical help in childbirth. Rugs start at $250 and bracelets at $10..."
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of sharing gifts, they would not enjoy their gifts without sharing them with others, nor would the taint of stinginess obsess the heart and stay there. even if it were their last and final bit of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it" Itivuttaka 18
Happy Monday loves.
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