it's a beautiful thing...

I just browsed the gift catalog at Heifer International, http://www.heifer.org. Here is a truly great antidote to all those worst-of-the-season ads urging you to "give yourself a gift" of whatever the advertiser is selling. The idea is to give a family in some other part of the world an animal which can help them create food and clothing. What a cheerful, hopeful charity!

My grandmother, Evenlyn Ashbrook, has been giving us "kids" Heifer gifts for Christmas over the last half century. (Bless her, she keeps us supplied with National Geographic subscriptions too.) When we were very young we were disappointed that we got just a slim envelope, and some other family elsewhere got a farm animal. But soon enough we saw the wisdom of redeeming the process of gift-giving from the passions of acquisitiveness, by giving gifts to people that need them. Rather than to us kids (of whatever age) with full toy boxes.

This year, at the instigation of relatives (thanks, cousin Kris!) there's a little old lady in Texas who is going to get a menagerie from her family... Shhh, don't tell her.

Merry Christmas, all!

Comments:

What a great idea. I've signed up for a registry and sent emails off to all my extended family. I'd prefer they all make purchases here than buy me the next great piece of electronic junk or clothes I won't wear.

Posted by Charles Oliver Nutter on December 10, 2007 at 08:13 PM PST #

+1 on Heifer. Seems to be a pretty decent charity, we've been giving gifts for years. Great for people that are "difficult to buy for". 60 minutes covered them a few years ago, seem to be on the up and up. Lastly, they actually have things like shirts etc that you can buy, but even as of last year, they had no web presence for that stuff; it was all listed in a print catalog and you could call in your order.

Posted by Patrick Mueller on December 10, 2007 at 10:01 PM PST #

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About

John R. Rose

Java maven, HotSpot developer, Mac user, Scheme refugee.

Once Sun and present Oracle engineer.

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