Santas lurked ominously in window displays, mannequins wore tinsel scarves draped casually over their shoulders and lunchtime took on a new sense of purpose as I began to think seriously about what major gift I would obtain for each of those closest to me. I made a list and it went something like this:WHO are they? WHAT do they need?
- MUM – needs nothing but I ended up getting her a woollen underlay to ease her aged bones at night
- TONY – needs nothing , so I got him a flight voucher with an International carrier for a trip when he can take the time
- SISTER – has severed all ties with all of us
- MIKE – son, just completed University and at 30 years old still looking for a handout and fiscal support. Clothing for him. Past time for him to stand on his own two feet.
- VINCENT – Box away to Canada with loot for himself, his 1 year old daughter and his partner
- TESS – money towards a new lounge
- ERIK – money towards a new lounge
- MS LIZZIE – dolls house
- PANDY – “lovelinks” charm bracelet with 3 murano glass charms and two white gold spacers
- AMY – same as Pandy
- GENEVIEVE – replacement mobile phone body ( Nokia 6300) and handbag
- LEONNIE – same as Geni
By the way everyone THIS is me cutting back.
What do they all need? Nothing really.
When I pull out childhood memories I an only remember one gift I received the rest of my memories are about gathering together as a family, receiving our summer set of good and play clothing ( we had new clothing bought at Christmas and during the beginning of winter; church clothing and a set of seasonal good play or casual clothing and aside form school uniforms that was IT!!) Now everytime someone sees something either on sale or that they fancy, out comes the wallet and the card and home come the goodies. With such a glut people don;t seem to value what they have and what they get. Receiving then turning around looking for the next which they see and appreciate only briefly.
I will spend time with my grandson making cookies and decorating them and sit with him and learn how to operate and play with the X Box as long as he would like.
I will draw and colour with Lizzie and make her laugh simply because I love the light of a smile glowing in her.
I will kidnap Tess and take her for lunch one work day and invite Amy and Pandy and spend time giggling with them.
I will spend time with Mum just listening and being, sharing stories of Christmas past so she knows she did a good job.
I will stay in bed with Tony reading when my lungs won;t let me lay sleeping any longer rather than getting up and moving away just to make sure he feels my warmth and knows he is loved.
From now onwards unless someone NEEDS something I will be donating in their name:
- ASSISTANCE DOGS AUSTRALIA. Puppy sponsership is $20-60 a month. These are trained over 2 years to perform specific tasks to assist disabled people ( opening/closing doors, turning lights on and off, pressing pedestrain crossing buttons. it costs more than $20,000 to train just one dog, plus you will be invited to meet your puppy when it graduates and is handed over to its owner.
- AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS. Free. The Red Cross is always in need of blood donations and Christmas is no exception. Many regular donors go away for the holidays and with increased need with so many car accidents at this time giving an hour of your time to donate blood can make a difference to our drastically low blood stock levels and directly improve someone’s health.
- CARERS AUSTRALIA. Any amount you want. Carers are the unsung heroes of our community. They sacrifice a large part of their lives to look after loved ones who need constant assistance because of physical or mental illness. Often, carers are children who have to balance adult responsibilities such as caring for a parent and running the home while attending school. A donation via the Carers Australia website will go towards counselling and training plus special programs for young carers. Click on About Us and then Support Family Carers.
- FREERICE. Free. Test your knowledge and improve your vocabulary while helping to feed the hungry! For every answer you get that is correct in a fun multiple choice quiz, FreeRice will donate 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program(WFP), the world’s largest food aid agency. Since the website launched in oct 2007, FreeRice has generated enough rice to feed more than two million people. In countries where rice is a dietary staple, WFP provides around 400gm rice per person, per day – there are 48 grains of rice in a gram – so get clicking!!
- KARMACURRENCY. Donation. After making a tax deductible donation, this site issues you with a charity gift voucher in your chosen design that you may either print out, post or send by email for a small additional fee ( to ensure the entire donation goes to charity rather than administration costs). The recipient then visits the website and chooses the charity to donate their voucher to. They may rescue an animal, help find a cure, comfort the aged, stand up for women, defend a cause and much more.
- KIVA. Minimum $25 US. Instead of donating money to help alleviate poverty n a developing country, you may lend money to an individual entrepreneur and once they are on their feet, they can pay you back. You can then decide whether to withdraw your initial loan or pass it onto someone else. The aim is to help people achieve financial independence and through an extensive international database you may choose exactly who your money assists. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.
- OXFAM. Indigenous Granny Group – $50. The Wellness Circle Grandmothers’ Group brings together Aboriginal Elders who meet each week. The Elders pass on the cultural history and give support and advice to young mothers. It gives younger indigenous people the opportunity to learn about and take pride in their rich cultural heritage and create positive stronger communities.
- PLAN AUSTRALIA. Sponsor a child from $39 a month. There are more than 3000 children on this organisation’s database who need a sponsor. You can choose the country, age and gender of the child you would like to sponsor and your money goes to projects chosen by the child’s community, such as health care, education or building works. The aim is to create a safe and sustainable environment for that child.
- STARLIGHT CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION. Create a Wish – $19. This foundation helps sick children and their families cope with the stress if illness by providing innovative ways to lift the spirits of those most in need. You can buy a sick child a creative gift pack or make their dearest wish come true.
- THE FISTULA FOUNDATION. Love-a-sister. $450 US. These people run a hospital in Addis Abada Ethiopia and several smaller clinics around that country providing free medical care for women who developed a fistula during a complicated childbirth. Women who suffer from this condition – usually just teenagers – are shunned by their husband and family and live a life of terrible isolation and shame. The Fistula Hospital was founded in 1974 by Australian Doctor Catherine Hamlin and her late husband has restored the lives of more than 32,000 women by performing a simple operation that is successful more than 90% of the time. Prior to surgery and during recovery, patients attend literacy and safe motherhood classes and learn about abduction, rape and domestic violence. Through these workshops cured patients become ambassadors of care to their communities when they return home. A donation of $450US covers the cost of surgery and post operative care for one woman and allows her to resume a life in society with dignity.
- THE SMITH FAMILY. School Excursion – $25. The Smith Family has a focus on disadvantaged Australian families. Visit it’s online Christmas Gift Guide and for $25 you could help a child experience the fun side of school along with the rest of their class by enabling them to take part in a school excursion they otherwise not have been able to afford to attend.
- SEEK VOLUNTEER. Your time. Volunteer your time with an organisation is one way to contribute and give back to the community. If you are not sure where to start, Seek Volunteer is an online resource that allows you to search for the position that is right for you. it has thousands of positions in its database and you can search by location, organisation and job type.