Everyone's posting about this now, right? 'Tis the holidaze. Time to buy, buy, buy! Or make, make, make! Or simply fall to the ground and weep and pray that 2013 gets here sooner than later. Yanno, whatever gets you through the season.
I am gloriously inconsistent in my gift giving, which means that folks don't ever expect anything from me. If they do get something, fabulous! If not, well, that's just Al. Amiright? This year I am giving more to strangers (soldiers serving in 'Stan) than I am to folks in my daily life, because folks in my daily life aren't dealing with IEDs and absent families. My charitable giving occurs monthly, so I keep that love going year round. I'm a firm believer that Christmas really shouldn't be that terribly different than any other time of the year, save kicking up the giving a bit more. But, I'm a bleeding heart do-gooder who thinks hoarding wealth is pathological. Pardon me, I digress.
Wait, let me stop here for a minute and clarify something. I send letters and goodie boxes to soldiers serving abroad via Adopt a Platoon. But those are not "charity" cases. Military personnel are highly skilled professionals. They simply do their jobs in horrible conditions, so sending some goodies is a way of helping out champions, not of "giving to the less fortunate."
So, this year, in addition to homemade gifts, I am doing my best to
support veteran owned business that contribute a portion of their
proceeds to veterans charities. Two great vet owned businesses I've supported so far this season are Lock-N-Load Java and Rogue American Apparel. Both of the guys who run those shops are fabulous. Customer service is king, people! They were both able to make multiple shipments to my guys in the sandbox without any drama and included extras at no charge. (Lemme clarify this in case you're new here: I don't accept advertising and no one pays me to promote them. I just give a shout out to awesome peeps when I'm able.)
I've also added another non-profit organization to my monthly giving regime: Friends of TAFCOM. This lovely giving avenue was created by my friend Jamie Christiano, who has made a few trips to Tanzania to help out a community battered by HIV/AIDS. Since she began her involvement, the community has been able to build a school. A school! All from the help of one individual. That, my friends, is some powerful love in action. Learn more about her story here. In addition to outright donations, Jamie has set up a business called Maisha Designs, where women in Moshi, Tanzania make gorgeous purses and clutches and other fabulous delights. The proceeds return to the community to help them meet their needs.
Although I don't support the notion that we can shop our way to curing ills, I do believe that if you need a particular item (yeah, maybe even just want it too), why not purchase from independently owned businesses that support worthwhile causes? What organizations and businesses are you supporting this holiday season? How does your family handle gift giving during the holidaze? Do you have any veteran owned businesses you'd like to tell us about? Please share in the comments, iff'n ya feel so inclined. Happy holidays, y'all!