I can only speak for myself, but I know I’m not alone when I say that it’s been a rough year. For many, that is the understatement of 2016. Given the weight so many of us feel for a myriad of unimaginable reasons, I struggled to find the point of a holiday gift guide. Who needs a scented candle when the world feels like it’s in the toilet? (Come to think of it, maybe it’s actually the perfect time for a scented candle. Ha! I recommend Aesop’s “Post-Poo / Anti-Merde Drops.” I can’t help but think that they would make an incredible, albeit cheeky, hostess gift. I mean, everyone needs them. But I digress.) Who wants a beautiful tea towel unless it’s to mop up all the tears we’ve cried over any number of tragedies, injustices, and heartaches. I, for one, do not want any gifts this year. I want to channel my feelings, my fears, and my frustrations into meaningful action. Isn’t that what a gift is, anyway — the manifestation of how much you care?
Don’t get me wrong, I love me a pretty tea towel, but why not give the gift of giving? This year, I’d like to share my favorite charities for my annual gift guide. It’s a very short list. To be honest, I originally wanted to compile an exhaustive list of important nonprofits, and while organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU need our help now more than ever, I decided that what I really wanted to do was to share those that are closest to my heart. I believe that giving starts with a genuine personal connection to a cause, and that we can inspire awareness and support for that cause when we share our heart’s calling with others. All three organizations on my list were introduced to me through friends, and now I’m thrilled to be passing them along to you. Please feel free to do the same by commenting on this post and sharing your favorites with us!
I was first introduced to Global Giving when my friend, Fran Hauser, gave me a Global Giving gift card for Christmas. That gift card enabled me to donate to one of the hundreds of charitable projects on GlobalGiving.org. What Fran gave me was so much more than just a gift — she gave me the gift of giving.
I love Global Giving because they make it easy for anyone to find a cause that truly speaks to them. Whether your passion is kids, education, or the environment, you can search hundreds of projects from all over the world. Hop on their website now and purchase a Global Giving Gift Card for your coworker, neighbor, or friend. It’s a simple but meaningful gift, and I ask you, what could be better than that?
Bent On Learning is changing the lives of kids in New York City public schools through the practice of yoga. I’m so inspired by the work they do. They have brought yoga to the classroom for the past fifteen years, helping kids calm their stress, navigate their emotions, and connect with themselves.
Girl Be Heard is a nonprofit theatre group that inspires girls to write and perform their stories. I was lucky enough to watch one of their performances and I was moved to tears! Girl Be Heard runs after school and weekend programs in underserved areas of NYC, inviting at risk youth to share the social justice issues affecting their communities. This amazing outlet and platform helps young women find and share their voice.
There are so many ways to offer genuine displays of love and appreciation this holiday season. Charitable giving is a great place to start, but you could also take a good friend out for a hot chocolate or a glass of wine, or bake cookies, or make a homemade holiday card. I know, life is busy, but somehow this year feels different — Lord knows, we all need a
little lot more love and, by gosh, we will make time to cherish the important things in life that feel real and necessary! And, homemade gifts aside, if you are wholeheartedly connected to that beautiful tea towel and you know it would bring so much joy to your friend/coworker/family member, then by all means, you should buy it.
So this year, I invite you to share the love. Follow your heart’s calling and show how much you care through meaningful action. That’s the best yoga you could practice this holiday season.