Charm-i-days: Beyond trinkets

Make like Santa without the aid of trimmings or trappings.

Cow-shaped happiness.

While the Charm-i-days gift guide mostly falls on the Things & Totems end of the spectrum, the intent with everything the Charm-o-Matic generates is meaningful celebration. Not the kind of glib obliviousness to the world’s suffering that gives happiness a bad name, but an intelligent way of finding what’s good in the world and making more of it.

Gift-giving also taps into the Activities & Techniques end of the spectrum; sharing is one of the most vital ways of experiencing the world. It’s fun to find little bursts of goodness that appeal directly to each person on your list. And attention, holiday shoppers: Those bursts need not be tangible. If buying presents this year comes from a sense of obligation or creates a sense of budget anxiety, give gifts that don’t cost a dime. Or even a nickel. And while you’re at it, use a few dimes and nickels to help someone who’s hurting.

Finding hope and authentic joy while remaining realistic about the many problems in our world is a challenge. One way to bridge this gap every day is to do small, delightful things purposefully. I hope these trinket-free ideas take you in that direction.

One: Go bauble-free. Last year, the Charm-o-Matic recommended cookie exchanges and homemade coupons to celebrate. You can make those seemingly old chestnuts fresh every year. Consider devising some kind of Friendly Lift of the Month Club. Maybe one month you can cook dinner for someone and another month you can plan an outdoorsy hike for a group of your mutual friends. Gifts that promise togetherness throughout the year highlight (and strengthen) the distinct bond you have with each person on your list.

Two: Go world-wide. Give not only to people you know but also to others who share our pretty little planet.

Heifer International helps families in developing countries. For $20, you can give a flock of chicks, which will add protein-rich eggs to a family’s diet and leave plenty of eggs for them to share or sell as well. For $120, you can give a goat, which supplies milk. Cow-shaped happiness costs $500. If you want to give in the name of someone on your list, you can also send that person a Heifer e-card when you make the donation, which is a sneaky way of giving a last-minute gift. Not that I’m suggesting you would need such an idea. I’m sure you’ve thought everything through, you master planner, you.

Another personal favorite, Care.org has a holiday shop of calendars and T-shirts you can buy to support their work helping women and girls around the world get educated and escape poverty. Dozens of fancy studies show that empowering women and girls creates ripples of positive change around the world.

Finding someone in your community who needs help is also frightfully easy these days. Maybe someone in your neighborhood would appreciate a bag of groceries. In The Hope, Andrew Harvey recommends finding the cause that breaks your heart and dedicating yourself to it.

So baubles or not, happy, merry, sparkly wishes to you … and, you know, the world.

Give animal-gifts from Heifer.org
Give goods from Care.org
Find another cause at Network for Good

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3 Responses to “Charm-i-days: Beyond trinkets”

  1. Bart Bakewell Says:

    Thanks for the great article, If I’m using google chrome, how do I add RSS to my browser?

    • Susan Gray Blue Says:

      Thanks so much for the feedback … I appreciate that. Much to my chagrin, I must report that I haven’t set up RSS yet for the Charm-o-Matic. I’ll make that a weekend project for myself.

  2. free style music Says:

    Good post, I always like them.

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