This season was one of the first that really got me caught up in thinking about actually buying "Christmas gifts" I donno it has taken me 28 years for the gift bug to take over, but perhaps I need less and feel a bit less that the joy is just in receiving. I get a kick out of giving the right gift.
What makes a gift right, though? Hopefully it's something beautiful and useful or at least to be enjoyed on a semi regular basis? While I won't claim to have it all figured out I did stumble upon the perfect gift that literally keeps giving.
It's a Kiva Loan from www.kiva.org
The concept is something I heard about a few years back but it seem to have really taken off in 2010. You choose an individual or group to recieve a small micro loan from you and they work to feed their family or improve their home or whatever it is they need it for. They then slowly but steadily pay you back. They have an extremely high pay back rate. Now, this is NOT a way to make money, this is humanitarian. But when they pay the entire say, $25 dollars back, you can then use that same 25 and loan it to another person, and ad infinitum. There is literally no end to the good you can do with a few 25 dollar loans floating around the world.
In November chose to support Beth Kabacwamba who lives in Uganda and has a brick making and laying business. She's already paid back 12% this month.
This year I will make one micro loan a month and try to gift my friends that "have everything" Kiva Loans. I think that many people doing little things like this will really what makes us realize we're all in this together and most certainly we're more similar than different.
Perhaps the most radical change that occurs this year will be in our hearts and minds in this our prophetic year of 2012.
And for those looking to keep it "local" or at least in USA I've discovered that Kiva will be working with more domestic orgs to give to individuals in the states as well.