“No gifts please, your presence is all the gift we desire.”
Except this time I knew they meant it. But this time I also knew that I really wanted to give a gift. The couple in question are the most generous, giving people I’ve ever met. Not in a crass, obligation-creation way. They just always seem to be there with the perfect little something that makes you smile for a week. They’ve got perfect timing and the best sense of humour. I love them to bits.
Me? Well, I try, but I’ve never been nominated for any thoughtfulness awards and I’m not holding my breath waiting. Much too short an attention span to be a genuinely thoughtful person I think. But this time I really wanted to be that kind of person.
This couple’s surname is WinningHAM ....and they live in “Hog Heaven ...a state of mind.” Get it? Well, that’s their sense of humour. So, of course, over the years they have been inundated with all the porky bric-a-brac a home can handle. Cannot go there again.
We briefly considered actually buying a pair of live piglets. But they recently re-did all the landscaping. Letting live pigs loose to root through their carefully constructed new garden would be just cruel.
And “thoughtful” is the direction I’m actually trying to head in, so bad idea.
What to do? What to do?
A few years back I decided that my nieces and nephews got too much junk for Christmas. This was my assessment of the situation, I didn’t ask them. I was recently returned from Africa and the assault of Christmas commercialism hit me like a sucker punch to the gut. I couldn’t breathe. The idea of spending money on more stuff ...with the faces of African children so fresh in my mind ...just couldn’t do it.
So my nieces and nephews acquired a foster cousin for Christmas ...and all the Christmases since. It’s what I do on their behalf, instead of buying them more junk. My husband lucked out that Christmas too. Instead of the woofer he’d been hinting for ...he found a new son from Ghana under the tree.
I’ve never felt so good about my Christmas shopping. And I remembered, pondering this, the brochure I’d received last Christmas ...with a whole menu of creative gift giving ideas including something about farm animals. The brochure was long gone, so I checked out the website of Foster Parents Plan.
Sure enough ...farm animals, including pigs. I could buy a couple of pigs for a poor Indonesian farmer on my friends’ behalf. What could be better? Live pigs without the rooting around in the garden and no more bric-a-brac. It was brilliant.
We found a photo of two cute pigs – with apologies to the original photographer – I don’t know who you are but the photo is brilliant and it is for a good cause so I hope you’ll forgive me. We made up a presentation card and I think ....they thought it was brilliant too.
Which got me thinking about the gifts that we give ...and having a good feeling about that credit card ching-ka- ching.
The Foster Parents Plan website has a whole raft of interesting gift-giving ideas.
note: photos below are from the Foster Parents Plan website
Farm Animals –
from $40 each
A Dozen Tree Seedlings –
A Latrine -
from $500 to $19,500 to drill a deep water well
School Desk and Chair
Solar Panels to Light a Classroom
Scholarship for one Girl to go to School
Adult Literacy Training for Two Women
Net for One Family -
Immunization for an Entire Community of Children
Training for a Midwife or Birth Attendant
Medicine and Supplies
So be creative ...and I guarantee you will feel better than great about
the gift that you’ve given. The giftee? How they feel is up to them
...but most of us would be thrilled and the others? They just need to
think about it a bit longer.