For logistical reasons we celebrated St. Nikolaus as a sort of “pre-Christmas” with the German side of the family this year and exchanged presents already then. I got from my in-laws a piece of paper, rolled and tied with a very nice ribbon. Inside it told me that they had made a donation to the MSF Syria fund.
This pressie was one of the best I have ever received. It made me incredibly happy. It still does. Many charities now provide the option of giving an “alternative” kind of present, namely buying cows, trees, chicken, school books etc., mostly in developing countries. I have received some of these in the past and they have never been a bad gift, it’s always better to give something like that as opposed to something material which I probably don’t need. But they’ve not been like this one.
The reason is that this was personal. This was not just a generic “do something good” gift. It was specifically for me. It was something I care passionately about.
Having had such a strong reaction to it, I decided to throw the idea out there more generally. When pondering what to get various family members and friends, how about expanding your search to not just gadgets, food or books that they might enjoy and think about issues or causes that they care about? An example: F feels very strongly about the rights of refugees and asylum seekers and has devoted large amounts of his time to helping them both in Germany and here in Switzerland. Recently he has been dropping hints that HEKS/EPER offers some gifts tailored at assisting these very people.
Not that I’m referring to anything specific, nobody can guess what Santa might bring in his sack... If anything at all for that matter. It all depends on whether you have been naughty or nice. (The Santa's-little-helper-jury is still out on you, F.)
Merry Christmas everybody.