As we celebrate the season of giving thanks and head into the season of giving, this can be such a full and busy time of year: we plan for Thanksgiving in its many forms; we reflect on our love of family and friends; we turn inward to the coziness and warmth of our homes; and we think of gifts to create which celebrate a season of light and love. It’s enough to fill half the year, and we end up squeezing it between Halloween and New Year’s—what a fast-paced holiday season it can be.
It’s easy to be caught up in the list-making, the have-tos, the present wrapping and recipe-trying, and the work (joyful as it may be) of fulfilling the traditions and aspirations we set for ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I feel quite proud of myself if I can manage to keep my kitchen moderately clean during this time of year, and I consider it a triumph if I’ve purchased the poinsettia for my kitchen table (it stands in for a real Christmas tree—those of us with tiny apartments need to be clever when it comes to holiday plant decor). I’m also lucky to realize that it’s a blessing and a choice to say, “There’s just so much—too much—to do during the holiday season.”
It’s often a choice to feel and be busy right now: maybe you know what I mean—maybe you’re checking off a holiday to-do list right now (stocking stuffer for Jeff, coconut macaroons for vet office) or possibly a new one is sitting next to you as you read this. Though who knows, maybe you’re blissfully enjoying a holiday count down without a sense of pressure or deadline (um, if you are, please come help me bake cookies).
Wherever you are on the Busy Spectrum, I’d like to share this idea and question with you: does your checklist include the name of someone in need? Amidst the excitement and comfort of the holidays, we have an opportunity to give in so many ways—our time, our creativity, our hospitality, our love. In what ways might we also contribute those gifts to organizations founded on the principle of helping others?
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to work on Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause—a book that thoughtfully pairs instructions for handcrafted projects with charities in need. Working with its author, Jade Sims, and the incredible designers featured within its pages was a privilege, and I was constantly inspired and touched by their innovation and generosity. My eyes were also opened to the missions of dozens of charities profiled in Craft Hope. From cancer treatment centers to adoption nonprofits, Craft Hope suggests ways in which we can reach out locally, nationally, and globally through the simple act of sharing handmade creativity with others.
To spread the seeds of inspiration, I’ve listed below some of the charities profiled in Craft Hope. I encourage you to visit their sites and find out how you can add your compassion to their cause this holiday season.
Global Impact www.charity.org
Pan de Vida www.pdvmex.org
Project Night Night www.projectnightnight.org
Orphan Foundation of America www.orphan.org
Knobit Sante Cap-Haitien Health Partnership www.konbitsante.org
Jewish Family Service of Seattle www.jfsseattle.org
SOME (So Others Might Eat) www.some.org
Margaret’s Hope Chest www.margaretshopechest.com
Youth Action International www.youthactioninternational.org
The Care Bags Foundation www.carebags4kids.org
The Yarnery’s Mitten Fairy Project www.yarnery.com
Little Red Wagon Foundation www.littleredwagonfoundation.com
Operation Sock Monkey www.operationsockmonkey.com
Giving Children Hope www.gchope.org
Miracle Foundation www.miraclefoundation.org
Starlight Children’s Foundation www.starlight.org/crafthope
The Preemptive Love Coalition www.preemptivelove.org
Children of the Forest www.childrenoftheforest.com
Alex’s Lemonade Stand www.alexslemonade.org
MD Anderson Cancer Center www.mdanderson.org
To celebrate this season of giving, we’re giving away a copy of Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause. We hope it inspires you to share your time, creativity, and love with those in need of care, a helping hand, and hope.
To be entered for a chance to win a copy of Craft Hope, leave a comment on this post by 9:00 p.m. EST on Monday, December 6th. You’re welcome to post any comment, though I’d love to hear how you plan to celebrate this season of giving. One winner will be selected at random and contacted by Friday, December 10th. Click here for the official rules.