Thursday, November 17, 2011

Need a Christmas gift idea? Check out World Vision's Gift Catalog

Giving money to charity is very important to my husband and I, and we currently give to a number of different organizations. One of the ones that we've been working with the longest though, is World Vision.  I've had sponsored kids through World Vision for over 10 years now, and it's been a pleasure watching the kids that we help grow up.  In addition to sponsoring kids through World Vision, my family always makes it a point to go through the World Vision Gift Catalog each year and choose a few things to donate money too. The World Vision gift catalog is full of so many great ways you can help- here's a bit about it, from a press release that I received:

Unwrap a Better Tomorrow with Meaningful, Charitable Gifts

World Vision’s Gift Catalog offers items that change lives around the world

SEATTLE (November 07, 2011) –Most people think holiday gifts are meant to be wrapped with a bow, but the truth is that more than 800,000 people around the world were impacted by gifts last year through World Vision’s Gift Catalog that didn’t come with decorative paper or ribbon.

“The holiday season provides the perfect opportunity to honor a loved one and give a gift that has real-life implications on a family in need,” said Traci Coker, World Vision Gift Catalog national director. “As little as $16 can feed a family in the US for a day or put a smile on the face of a young child by replacing their makeshift banana leaf ball for a real soccer ball.” 

The catalog offers more than 250 gifts online and in the print version ranging in price from $16 to $39,000. These gifts can be purchased in the name of a family member, teacher, co-worker or child, including many affordable items under $50. Gifts available include, but are not limited to:

·         Goats ($75): One of the most popular gift items because its milk provides protein for children and the surplus can be sold. More than 20,000 goats were purchased last year.
·         Feed a family in the US for a day ($16): Here in the United States, 1 in 5 children lives in poverty. Gift givers can help restore hope to families that have been struck by disaster, homelessness or job loss.
·         A child’s education ($32): Supplying school fees, textbooks, paper and pencils will help a child reach their full potential.
·         Beehive ($150): Beekeeping is a sustainable, year-round way to generate income and is a great source of nutritious, medicinal honey and beeswax.
·         Traditional water well ($13,700): A well can provide more than 2,800 gallons of fresh water every day – enough for up to 300 people – for years to come.

The best part about these gifts is that they are self-sustainable. For example, goats given to communities in Africa are purchased in Africa. This allows transformational community development within the most poverty-stricken villages. The gifts can also sometimes double or even triple, as shown in the box below on the right (The World Vision Difference).

World Vision has also designed a way for donors to see these self-sustainable gifts in action in real time through “The True Spirit of Christmas Tour.” For the third consecutive year, World Vision staff will be traveling across the world this December to see the impact that goats, sheep and other gifts have on families and children. Donors can follow “The True Spirit of Christmas” on Facebook at

Since the Gift Catalog was introduced in 1996, its popularity as a gift-giving medium has grown with more than $32 million in purchases made last year. World Vision hopes to reach $34 million this year. After purchasing a Gift Catalog item, the person whose name the gift was given in receives a special card describing the gift and its impact. Donors can also receive free handmade gifts such as ornaments from Nairobi and jewelry from Thailand with a cash contribution to the Maximum Impact Fund.

To order from World Vision’s Gift Catalog, visit www.worldvisiongifts.orgTo order by phone or to request a print catalog, call toll-free at (888) 511-6511. 

About World Vision
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. We serve the world’s poor, regardless of a person’s religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, visit
Sometimes it's hard to choose which need to help meet, since there are so many wonderful choices in this gift guide. This year my family used the method that we started using a few years ago- we chose causes that relate to what we are experiencing in our life. Since my son is in school now, we donated causes related to education. And since Ethan loves soccer, we also chose to give to the fund that buys soccer balls for schools. In past years, when I was pregnant we donated to maternal health care, and when we had babies, to feeding infants. Just an idea!

Although many of the donations in the gift guide are just that, for donations to the Maximum Impact Fund you can choose to receive a free gift to keep or give to someone else. There are several to choose from, things like hand-woven Thai purses, silk scarves, Christmas ornaments, plush toys and more. As thanks for my time in writing this post, I received this absolutely gorgeous artisan beaded necklace that was handmade in Thailand.

The necklace is great- it's a long necklace that can be worn long, or doubled up as a shorter necklace or even worn as a bracelet.  When it arrived, I was wearing a simple white shirt and cardigan, and just by putting on the simple but colorful necklace, my whole outfit was transformed! 
Pretty necklace!

And now it's a pretty bracelet!

The World Vision gift catalog is a great way to help take care of others and give gifts with real, lasting meaning.  If you're looking for a special way to donate to those in need this holiday season, definitely check it out!

Disclosure: I did receive the necklace discussed above as thanks for my time in writing this post. However, I have a longstanding relationship with World Vision and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone.