I have been blessed. During the holiday season, I am reminded constantly of the blessings I have — a loving husband and family, dear friends, great coworkers, a job I love and the involvement of thousands of local volunteers each year who are a blessing in themselves.
I also have been blessed with financial security, a home I love and many comforts that I know I take for granted every day.
If you are like me, this season also is a reminder that there are many people out there who have not experienced as many of the blessings as we have.
I have a pay-it-forward idea that I have incorporated into my life, which has been very meaningful for me. It is my way of sharing my blessings throughout the year, but there are many options that you can access to make a difference — and be good to the earth as well.
If you are looking for a way to give back and be environmentally friendly, consider looking for gifts that benefit charities and causes that you care about. You could make a donation directly to a local charity in honor of someone you normally purchase a gift for. Most charities now have a card or method of contacting the honoree to acknowledge your gift.
Or consider some of the gift options that give back. If you are an avid web shopper, you can find a perfect holiday gift at www.giftsthatgive.com.
“Founded in 2008 by Neiman Marcus retail veteran and former nonprofit board member Nancy Y. Taylor, Gifts that Give allows shoppers to choose from more than 100 top brands for that perfect gift,” according to earth911.com. “And the best part is — 20 percent of all proceeds are donated to the shopper’s charity of choice.
“Once you’ve made a purchase, $1 out of every $5 spent will be donated to the charity you chose.”
The process is simple. When you go to the Gifts that Give website, click on the “Causes” button at the top of the page to search for charities by topic and location.
“Shoppers can select from more than 1.4 million charities, including 18,000 local and national groups working to improve the environment,” according to earth911.com.
With that many choices, I’m sure you can find causes that would be meaningful to you and your gift recipients.
Charities range from national groups like Habitat for Humanity and Keep America Beautiful to many local organizations.
You might be wondering if the gifts are pricey to compensate for the donation, but “all gifts are sold at regular retail prices, which range from $25 to $2,500 to suit any budget,” according to earth911.com.
Just a note to my family and friends: I have not purchased any of the $2,500-range gifts for you.
Once you have picked a charity, you can “browse gifts by price range or check out their Favorite Gifts Under $50 for holiday shopping that won’t break the bank,” according to earth911.com.
You can check out www.charitygiftcertificates.org for more gift options.
“You may be interested in CharityChoice stocking stuffers for only $2 and $5,” Daniel B. Goodman, a CharityChoice spokesman, said on earth911.com. “Cute red, season themed cards with an image of a stocking, printed on recycled card stock. The gift-recipient picks from over 250 major charities and hundreds of worthwhile local causes.
“A wonderful way to teach children about the true meaning of family celebrations. Also meaningful for office holiday party favors and at family gatherings.”
Personally, as much as I like gifts, these kinds of opportunities for giving back have a particularly special meaning for me. I think they can for you, too.
Also remember to give a special gift this month to a local attractive business by nominating them for a Win-dex Award. Let them know we appreciate their efforts to be clean and attractive.
I have been blessed in so many ways. In spite of the difficulties and sadness that are a part of life, there is much that we can be thankful for. We can share that with others by giving back.
The Christmas season is a good time to remember that it never was the intention of our Father for the government to assume the role of taking care of the less fortunate. It is our role as friends, neighbors, communities and churches. We have been blessed — all of us — so let’s share our hearts and blessings with those around us this season and all year long.
Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful projects that need you
• Remember to bring one for the chipper: Recycle your Christmas tree from Dec. 26-Jan. 7 to make useful mulch or to use as fish habitat in local ponds.
• Nominate a local attractive business for a quarterly Win-dex Award by Dec. 31.
For more information, call KLB at 880-4888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.