With the Christmas shopping season in full swing, I will be spending December nap times shopping from the comfort of my couch! Some of my favorite gifts also support my favorite charities. When you purchase the items in this gift guide, charities receive a donation and you help raise awareness of important causes and community organizations.
My family has been blessed with more than we ever need. I pray that we can be a blessing in this world and spread God's love always. Every Christmas season, I love to shop for gifts that support my favorite charities. Here's my Giving Tuesday Christmas gift list:
1. Alex + Ani
Alex + Ani has a gorgeous line of bangles that support two of my favorite charities. First is the Elephant Charm bangle, that benefits the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. The FOJ Foundation pairs student athletes with children who are battling pediatric brain tumors. My oldest daughter Lily, who is brain tumor survivor, was adopted by the Temple University Woman's Lacrosse Team in 2010. We love our team and we love the motivation, love and joy those young women have given to our daughter.
The other bangle is the Zest for Life Charm Bangle, benefiting Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. ALSF raises money for childhood cancer research.
Alex + Ani will donate 20-percent of all sales of these bangles to FOJ and Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. Both bangles are $28.
2. Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Ornament
Speaking of lemonade, we love the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation ornament! The 2014 ornament was inspired by the Lemonade and Love for Sam stand held each year in Grover Beach, CA to honor the memory of Sam Jeffers, who passed away at the age of 8 from an inoperable brain tumor. We love Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and we love this gorgeous ornament. It is the perfect way to honor the memory of a hero, celebrate the hope and help raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer research. The ornament is $20.
I love the line of sock monkeys and friends from MVP Brands line Monkeez Makes A Difference. Our family had the pleasure of hanging out with the Monkeez crew at Toy Fair last year and learning all about these adorable stuffed animals--that teach important lessons about charity and decision making. When you purchase a specially labeled Monkeez stuffed animal (there are monkeys and an octopus and a kitten and so many more!!), your kids can head to the Monkeez website and select a charity for MVP Brands to donate 10% of the wholesale cost of the stuffed animal. Charities include: Samaritan's Purse, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and Best Friends Animal Society. The Monkeez website has lots of great games, tips and even a spotlight on Junior Philanthropists!
Plus the Monkeez and friends are super adorable and make the a perfect stocking stuffer! The toys are available at various retailers, including Amazon and start at $9. My favorite is "Stella" the mini pink elephant.
4. Stickman Stew
We first encountered Stickman Stew in NYC at a Mexican restaurant. The Stickman Stew and Gold
Heart Crew noticed that our children were behaving (a rare, full-moon like occurrence) and gifted my two kids with a Stickkid Sid and a Stickgirl Shirl. Not only with my girls filled with gratitude, but they were inspired to give other friends Stickkids and Stickgirls!
These adorable stuffed stick-figures are super cuddly and each comes with a back story. Stickman Stew spreads love and respect where ever he goes. Stickgirl Shirl, encourages others to do great things. This Christmas, buy one of the Stickkids (for under $10!) and Stickman Man Stew and the Gold Heart Crew will gift a deserving child with a Stickkid. You can to choose from a long list of children's charities and there is no limit to how many Stickkids your purchase can enable! Share the love and Buy One Give One.
5. Make a Be a Blessing Jar!
This is not a gift you can buy--but a gift that you can share with your family and your community! We made these jars at my church Advent Festival this weekend. Take a mason jar or other container and decorate it. Fill your jar up with random acts of kindness and light up the holiday season with love and goodness!
Each day of Advent, we pick a strip and perform the random act of kindness listed. It is a great way to remember why we celebrate Christmas--it is not about the material presents; it is about the miracle that happened in Bethlehem so long ago and the intangible gifts that God blesses us with everyday. I love to tell my children to be a blessing; this jar is a great tool to teach them (and remind me!) what being a blessing means!
Want a list of random acts of kindness to pop in your jar? Print the list we used at church. It includes a few empty spots for you to customize with your kids.
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!