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Every year my family exchanges gifts Christmas morning, and every year I stress over what to get them within my budget. I'm sure I'm not alone in this yearly tradition. Nobody in my family really needs anything, so it's even harder buying things for spoiled kids with already too many toys, and adults who earn enough to have already bought themselves whatever they need.

This year I proposed we all pick a favorite charity and agree to donate to it instead of each other. All the adults agreed to do this, but those with kids still wanted them to be spoiled rotten, so at least the grownups in our group are now giving to charities instead of to each other. This idea accomplishes several things; it takes the stress off all involved in regard to gift shopping, and it gives to those truly in need. It also makes the givers (those who sacrificed getting a gift) feel good about not only giving, but also sacrificing getting for the truly needy. It emphasizes giving over getting, which is supposed to be the true 'message' of Christmas.

This isn't a new idea by any means, but I'm sharing this because our family finally decided on this option and we all seem happy with our choice. Perhaps it might be something to consider this year for yours?

There is no shortage of charity organizations out there, but sometimes giving hard earned money to a charity can be a highly personal decision. Often people choose a charity that serves to help some issue they themselves experienced suffering with, such as women giving to women's shelters or men with physical abuse backgrounds giving to victims of parental abuse organizations. Some argue that charity begins at home, and so they give to local charities. As the saying goes, "it's all good."

The adults in our family that wanted to participate each gave out the name of a charity we want others to give to instead of to us. When you donate online to a charity, you typically get some kind of acknowledgement you can print out, so some may want to print that out and then hand it out in a card on Christmas day (proof that you gave to their charity of choice). We're not going that far in our family, but the option is out there for those who like the idea of giving to a charity, but don't like not having anything to hand out to the person on Christmas day.

Here is a good link to a list of top rated charities to consider with their ratings provided by Charity Watch:


Top Rated Charities

Groups included on the CharityWatch Top-Rated list generally spend 75% or more of their budgets on programs, spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support, do not hold excessive assets in reserve, have met CharityWatch's governance benchmarks, and receive "open-book" status for disclosure of basic financial information and documents to CharityWatch.

Here is the link:

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Good to see you're still around HOP. I hope all is going well for you.
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