What a great name – Ethical Giving. There is a name for everything to do with giving now. What is Ethical Giving and how can you incorporate it into you life? Plan Canada has a definition on their site.

“Ethical gift giving is about giving a gift that truly matters, a gift that brings with it hope and change. Ethical giving is taking real dollars going to real projects that change real lives.”

A number of years ago my entire family made a decision to stop giving gifts at Christmas. You will see why, let’s do the math.

1 husband + 2 sets of parents + 2 in-laws + 5 siblings + 5 spouses of siblings  x  1 kid x 2 nephews = 20 gifts x $30.00 per person  Christmas Total $600 (if I’m lucky)

It’s not just the money. You add up the time, the gas, the stress of getting it all done and Christmas is no longer about giving but everything it was never meant to be.

Our family commitment is now to honour each other and teach our kids that Christmas is for giving to others, for helping others. We each take the money that we would have spent on gifts (or what we can afford) and make a donation to a charity or cause we believe in. I also took this philosophy on for all the special occasions around the calendar year. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day (I’m not sure my husband fully appreciated the goat I bought for the village in Africa rather than a new golf shirt!), and birthdays.

Think of the money you spend each year on those items. $500, $1000, $10,000. What could you do to help change the world with that money instead? Do we really need another bar of smelly soap, fuzzy slippers or a toy that never never gets played with.

Here are a few suggestions for gifts you could give:

Plan Canada:

Goat: Not only funny looking, but useful too! These four-legged mammals are a source of milk, important nutrients and income. Cost $75.00

Second Harvest:

For every $1 donated Second Harvest provides enough fresh food for 2 healthy meals to the people on the front lines of hunger in Toronto. $50.00 = 100 fresh meals

World Vision:

Give a girl the opportunity to go to school and realize her potential $60.00

The holidays are just around the corner. There are thousands of choices to give to people in need all over the world. It may even be someone in your community you can support.

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