Holiday Giving

The holiday’s often mean a lot different things to different people. Some celebrate Christmas, while other celebrate Hanukkah, some don’t celebrate at all, or only celebrate out of habit. One thing that I personally think all people should do, not just in December, but all year, is give back. This is something that I try to instill in my son. When cleaning his room, we donate used (in good condition) toys, books and clothing. We give to food pantries and food drives. It may not be much, but we do what we can.

Around the holiday’s people are often plagued with what to get people. It is kind of wretched actually. I see it starting earlier and earlier every year. This picture was taken before Halloween this year.

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The Black Friday ads started appearing way before Thanksgiving and the “deals” started Thanksgiving week. It seems like that is all it is about for some people…gifts…(my self included…I spend months agonizing what to get people and worrying if they will like it or not) but in the wise words of Dr. Seuss – “Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” images

So for the last few years, instead of buying people another scarf or some other do-dad that will gather dust and eventually be thrown away or donated, I have been contributing to Heifer International  This wonderful organization provides animals or agriculture to families all over the world, so that they can provide for themselves. Whether it is a flock of chickens so they can sell eggs or a goat so they can sell the milk, it is all about providing the resources and education for them to provide for themselves. It is a fabulous organization. We don’t have much, and as much as I would like to give to all the charities, I have to pick just one.

This year, Cody picked the charity. This honestly, made my year. He really enjoys watching a show called Wild Kratts on PBS. It is a show that follows Chris and Martin Kratts through their adventures learning about all different forms of wild life and the habitats they live in (and what cool creature powers they have). It is part educational and all fun. (Just like most PBS programs) One day Cody was watching it and said “I wish I could help the Kratts brothers.” I asked what he meant. He said “I just wish I could help, get a creature power suit and go help them out on their missions.” I said “You may not be able to do that, but you can donate to a wildlife foundation to help protect the animals they talk about.” Cody: “YES!” So we started researching wildlife foundations.

The one we originally chose was Oceana, an organization that protects the world oceans and all its inhabitants. We picked out the shark honor cards and were super excited to give them out on Christmas. shark_catalogThen I got an email saying that they had run out of the honor cards and they would be refunding my money. What?! I can’t give my money away!

So I go on the World Wildlife Fund and donate. This organization is amazing was well, their mission is to conserve wildlife and work in harmony with nature. Instead of cards, we will be getting tote bags, which hey is actually super cool. I am excited; I know Cody will be too. I get the email confirmation…your tote bags will be shipped out in 6-8 weeks. What?! 6-8 weeks! So not in time for Christmas then…okay…awesome. Regardless I printed up some honor cards and will be handing those out.

A donation was made in your honor

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The greatest part is that Cody picked the charity. It is something he loves and something he feels strongly about. He cares about animals, and cares about what happens to them, so I couldn’t ask for anything more for the holiday. It is easy to get caught up in the crazy, commercialized side of the holiday season, but no matter what you believe in or how you celebrate, I think it is really important to remember that it is a time to spend with family, friends and a time to give if you can. It is a time for goodwill and peace.

The following is a short interview I had with Cody about his giving inspiration:

Mommy: What do you hope happens to the money we donated to the Wildlife fund?

Cody: I hope they use the money to help and learn about wild animals.

Mommy: Why did you want to do donate to the Wildlife Foundation?

Cody: I watched Wild Kratts explore wild animals and wanted to help them.

Mommy: What is your favorite wild animal?

Cody: Cheetah.

Mommy:Tell me about them:

Cody: They are super-fast runners, they can run over 40 miles per hour (around 70 when they get going), they chirp like birds, (WHAT? I never knew that! Listen here! ), and can be heard over a mile away, they use their tails to turn when running, they have the ability to long jump and can hear really well.image

Other animal facts Cody has learned watching the Wild Kratts:

Koalas can’t live in deserts because it is too hot and there are no eucalyptus trees, which is their main source of food.

Groundhogs can go six minutes without breathing!

Snow bunnies can actually change their fur depending on the season. In the winter they are white to blend into the snow and in the spring/summer they are brown.

Rattlesnakes rattle when they are about to attack and are very poisonous.

Geckos can stick to glass using their super strong legs and their tails are strong too.

Spider monkeys actually act like spiders at night blending in the shadows

Proboscis monkey have long noses that help them to warn their herd of danger.

Some fun sites:

World Wildlife (http://www.worldwildlife.org)

Oceana (http://oceana.org

PBS (pbs.org)

My blog 🙂 (https://mindytison.wordpress.com)

 

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*I still think Oceana is an amazing organization and suggest people give to them.

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