By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Dec. 22 2008 10:29 AM EST
The holiday season is in full swing and along with the joy often times comes unwanted stress, especially this year with the economic recession.
A ministry working to support needy children and families around the world offers five pieces of advice to Americans on alternatives to gift giving when money is tighter than ever.
For shoppers looking for easy, affordable and meaningful ways to give gifts to friends and families this year, World Vision suggests that the best way to do so is to select a charitable organization that one would like to support and make a donation online.
Donating to charities in the names of friends and family is meaningful and also avoids the chaos at malls around Christmas season.
The second best way to give affordable, meaningful gifts is to consider a do-it-yourself gift that you can make with your children.
Other ways to cope with the holiday recession include helping a neighbor shut-in by snow by shoveling their sidewalk or delivering hot chocolate to neighbors; giving the gift of time to volunteer as a family at a local charity; and buying gift certificates for friends to do family-friendly activities like going to the movies or ice-skating.
“The holiday season can be a stressful time of year,” says World Vision’s Devin Hermanson, in a statement. “There are gifts to purchase and wrap, cookies to bake, and family to visit but as the economy struggles, let’s remember our friends and neighbors in need.”
According to a recent World Vision gift-giving survey, four out of five U.S. adults prefer to receive a meaningful gift this holiday season. More than seven out of ten Americans plan to spend less on gifts but almost half of those surveyed say that given the current economic climate, they’re now more likely to give a “charitable gift,” something that helps other people instead of a traditional gift like clothing or home electronics.
World Vision has a Gift Catalog where givers can purchase in the name of a friend, family member, or business associate. The catalog includes a goat or cow for a needy family in Africa, and contributing to building a well in Africa, among other charitable gifts. World Vision sends special cards to those individuals, describing the gifts and their impact.
Last year, the ministry’s Gift Catalog raised $21 million and provided assistance to more than 500,000 people worldwide.
The Gift Catalog launched in 1996 and the goat ($75) has been the ministry’s number one seller, although there are many affordable items for less than $35.
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty.
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