Last month I mentioned that we were going to donate to charity rather than buy lots of Christmas gifts to people. This really just expands on a tradition in my family, where we’ve had a Christmas donation component for many years. The big difference was that this year, we didn’t buy anything for adults in the family. I wanted to share how it went.
The overall idea was wonderful. I know that I, personally, felt far less stressed out than usual at this time of year. With being super sick for part of that time, it was especially helpful not to be responsible for obtaining gifts for everyone. It also felt just way more fun and easy to hang out with our families, just appreciating each other and enjoying Benji’s excitement, with no stuff to get in the way.
The mechanics of it were a little less smooth, mostly because, again, I had many other things on my mind during the run-up to Christmas and I didn’t devote any bandwidth to helping coordinate or determine what exactly the logistics would look like. We did discuss a bit what charities to donate to before Christmas, and I know my in-laws made their donation based on that discussion. After Christmas, my parents asked to get together to talk about it, so we had some further discussion, mainly about what charities to support.
In the end, Ian and I split our donation four ways this year:
- Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – we started a small monthly contribution at Ian’s suggestion, because these guys work to protect digital rights, and it’s looking like that’s an area that’s ripe for abuses.
- Southern Poverty Law Center – their mission statement says it all: “The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.” Again, it’s looking like these areas are going to come under attack in the coming years, and we have a responsibility to make a stand.
- National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) – basically ditto for the above reasons, only these guys work to protect the environment. They’ve been on our list of charities for many years, and we give a monthly recurring donation anyway. But we gave some extra this year, because the incoming administration doesn’t even believe in climate change.
- Seattle Times Fund for the Needy – all the other charities we picked are big national advocacy groups. Seattle Times Fund for the Needy is hyper-local, supporting Seattle-area charities that work with “help local children, families and seniors in times of crisis.”
I think we’ll want to refine the process, but in general I felt like it went well and was much more what Christmas is meant to be about.