she's here to share her heart, passion, and terrific ideas on how to make a difference in other people's lives this holiday season.
be sure to show her some love by leaving a comment below as well as visiting her website. thanks, Christen}
I'm so honored to be guest blogging here today! My name is Courtney, and I am extremely passionate about advocacy and helping people in need around the world. I know I'm not the only busy mom who wants to make a difference, so I created a blog called See Jane Advocate where moms (or busy people in general) can find quick, affordable and practical ways to make a difference.
Since the idea of finding ways to make a global difference in your daily life is one of my biggest life principals, it makes sense to me to incorporate those values into our Christmas celebrations. So I wanted to share 4 easy ideas on how to do that.
1. Stocking stuffers of cash to be spent on an online relief gift catalog
This has become one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Two years ago we started replacing stocking stuffers for our families with envelopes of $15 cash to be spent together on the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog or World Relief's Catalog of Hope. So on Christmas day, in that lull between gifts and lunch, we all get online and everyone spends their $15 (PS. You can do SO much for $15! Did you know you can feed a hungry baby for a WEEK for $9???). It's a win-win for us because it gives us an activity to do and it's crazy awesome to see the difference that our Christmas celebration makes for people in developing countries.
2. Make or Give an Operation Christmas Child Online Shoebox
If you aren't familiar with Operation Christmas Child, I would strongly encourage you to check it out. You can now make and send a shoebox gift online for $35 or pay for a box and send it to someone else to let them fill it and send it. This would be a great way for a family to do something awesome together on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Elementary aged kids would probably get especially excited to put this box together on the website (they can even upload a photo of themselves and write a note for the receiving child!). I also love this as a gift for families who don't live near you.
3. Buy just ONE gift that makes a difference
I know it's late for gifts, but just ONE gift that makes a difference can change someone's life in a developing country. Here are couple of my favorites that are pretty mainstream so you don't have to worry about shipping in time for Christmas:
FEED Bags. Fabulous bags (I use mine as a diaper bag!) that provide food, vitamins and other essentials for children in developing countries. You can find them at Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Gap and tons of other retailers.
TOMS (both the shoes and their new eyewear). Since they are super hip these days, they're pretty easy to find! Here's where you can find a retailer for their eyewear or a retailer for their footwear. They also offer gift cards!
West Elm has a whole line of products called Handmade in Haiti that are made by Haitian artisans attempting to rebuild their life after the earthquake. The products are RAD and support a great cause. Here's where you can find the nearest store.
4. Send a Christmas card to your sponsor child (and if you don't have one, get one!)
This idea started last year when Abreham, our sponsor child in Ethiopia, sent us a Christmas card with a drawing of an Ethiopian Christmas tree and it looked nothing like ours. Joelle (my oldest) was intrigued, so we sent him a card with a drawing of OUR Christmas tree...and it has now become a tradition. It's been a great way to get my kiddo involved in something meaningful that is also fun for her (even if she wouldn't show her face for the photos)! If you don't yet have a sponsor child, it's really one of the best things that we've done and I would encourage you to find a child to sponsor. We go through Food for the Hungry because we got to see their amazing work first hand in Ethiopia a few years ago, but you could also go through Compassion International or several other great organizations.
Ok, so these things might not change the WHOLE world. I do realize that. But they will deeply effect the life of at least one person in need and at least one person close to you (you, your child, your family, your friends). The point is: Do what you can. Even if it's a little thing, it can make a big difference to someone else.
I hope these things inspire you to find meaningful traditions that will work for YOUR family. Please let me know if you have any questions!
And if you have any ideas to add to this list please share them with us in the comments!!! I hope you all have a very merry and blessed Christmas! Thanks for having me here!