Helping Others Celebrate Christmas

World Vision Christmas Catalog  (photo © 2010 Michael Gowin)

As a kid, I loved the JC Penney Wish Book. This was the department store’s annual Christmas catalog, about half the size of their seasonal catalogs but the back half was full of toys and objects of desire for children. It would arrive at our house in the mail several weeks before Christmas and I’d spend hours and days sifting through the pages, making and revising lists of all the stuff I’d want. This is the sort of thing that helps establish the foundation for a lifetime of consumerism. As fun as this was for me, I’m hoping to keep my children from the same obsessive behavior. Thankfully, the good people at World Vision have taken a cue from the department store marketers to help turn the focus away from ourselves.

For the last several years, we’ve received and loved the World Vision Gift Catalog. It too arrives several weeks before Christmas but contains gifts for others rather than for us. You can purchase farm animals (goats, cows, chickens) for families overseas who need them. You can send girls in developing countries to school or purchase a sewing machine so a woman in a poverty-stricken nation can earn a living. You can buy warm clothes for children in cold climates or a well to supply clean water to communities which lack these basic resources.

Choosing gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalog has become a tradition in our home. In the past few years, we’ve given medicine, seeds for garden vegetables, soccer balls, bicycles, a sewing machine, and other emergency supplies. The kids always enjoy choosing gifts and use their own money to pay for them. We love that they are learning that Christmas is about more than the gifts they receive, not to mention that their simple gifts can make a huge difference in the life of someone else.

Consider giving a gift to someone through the World Vision Gift Catalog this year. Your gift might make the difference that helps someone in another part of the world live to celebrate Christmas next year.

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