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Making a list and checking it twice

By: - Columnist
/ 11:18 PM December 14, 2011

Are you now feeling stressed due to the holiday season? Making your lists and checking them twice, figuring out who should get what present? Fixing menus for the noche buena and scheduling a spa day to help recover from all the busyness?

My Christmas season will be spent abroad on the “Colors of Christmas” tour. My husband and daughter are with me for part of the travels as well, which makes this debut with this series very special to me. There are only four performances to go (including Thursday, Dec. 15).

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We all, of course, wonder what to get for the special people in our lives: something for the foodie; the gadget freak; the cousin undergoing a residential re-do; the friend who has a love for anything and everything cute; the godchildren with their hands reached out; and the nieces and nephew who may be a little too young to demand anything too trendy (thank God).

But what would be cool to actually give? Although I try to be specific and tailor the gift to match the receiver, many of you don’t always have the time.

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So, how about a few suggestions:

1) Toys — And I don’t mean the brand spanking new, store-bought kind. If your kids are anything like mine, there are a bunch of underused or outgrown toys lying around at home. Gather them up and donate them to an orphanage, or see if your helpers have family that includes little ones. I think they’d appreciate the gesture.

2) Clothes — I need to periodically clean out my closet, if only to accommodate my various wardrobe sizes (I tend to behave like an accordion from time to time). I have kept some things in my closet that haven’t seen the light of day since around the time Nicole was born. I gave my mom permission to ransack it and take out what I didn’t need, didn’t wear, or couldn’t fit into, and pass them along to whomever might benefit from them. There are also various celebrity ukay-ukays around that benefit charities. Check them out. Those old jeans of yours could have a new life.

3) Sponsorships — As a child sponsorship ambassador of World Vision, I feel it’s important to ensure that our kids receive the education they deserve. There are millions of underprivileged but deserving children in our country, why not reach out and lend a helping hand? It doesn’t cost a lot of money per month, and the rewards are boundless. Visit worldvision.org.ph to see what you can do.

4) Time — There’s Gawad Kalinga, Habitat for Humanity and various nongovernment organizations that are always in need of volunteering time. Sometimes, the greatest gift that one can give comes straight from the heart and spirit of the giver, with a hammer (or a stethoscope) in hand.

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5) Food — I know of one Filipino family that resides abroad whose yearly mission is to feed an entire orphanage during the holidays. I haven’t actually attended one of these amazing Christmas dinners, but I can imagine what that must feel like. I know that it is well beyond our financial reach to do such a mammoth act, but how about helping to feed even just one needy family for the season?

6) Music — Give the gift of concert tickets; even the cheap seats are good, as sound travels upward, which may make the nosebleed section at an orchestral concert a veritable heaven. Whether it’s classical music at the Cultural Center of the Philippines or an outdoor jam somewhere, you will make someone extremely happy to see his or her favorite artist’s show.

7) A purse — Many different designers are using what we would consider trash as raw materials for their unique and wonderful creations, including purses and wallets made from old juice receptacles, aluminum wrappers, or tetra packs. The busy hands that made these are those from recovering communities involved in livelihood projects. So, when you think you’d like to give something practical, check out these items. You won’t only be giving away something awesome, but helping to rebuild a community.

With that, I’d like to wish you all a very merry shopping period! Speaking of which, I have a list of my own to make … and fast!

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TAGS: Christmas gift ideas, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Gawad Kalinga, Noche Buena, World Vision
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