What do I want for Christmas?
Well, I am at the age now (and honestly have been for some time but shhhh we don’t talk about how far into the double-digits I am in these circles) where I don’t really want things. I don’t really need things, either. I am capable of taking care of my basic desires and needs on my own (aside from the occasional hiccup when ahhhh the sky is falling, the sky is falling!). I’ve never really been a fan of excessive spending, anyway; and, in my opinion, that is the definition of Christmas: to participate in mass-consumerism for the sake of it.
What I am a fan of is giving to those who need it the most. Giving without an agenda, without receiving more thanks or recognition than someone’s tear-filled smile when they are able to eat or sleep or access basic human rights because some faceless person has donated a few dollars they didn’t really need in the first place.
So, this Christmas, if you were going to participate in the great retail machine in my name, I ask that you instead donate to a worthy cause. I don’t need money and I certainly don’t need more things.
A few of my choice charities are:
Freedom From Religion Foundation
“The purposes of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., as stated in its bylaws, are to promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.”
Foundation Beyond Belief (a favourite of mine!)
“Members join by signing up for a monthly automatic donation in the amount of their choice, then set up personal profiles to indicate how they would like their contribution distributed among the five categories. Carefully selected for impact and efficiency, our featured beneficiaries are secular organizations with the exception of Challenge the Gap, which features non-proselytizing organizations based in other worldviews. At the end of each quarter, all donations designated for our featured charities are forwarded, no percentage is retained, and a new slate of beneficiaries selected.”
BC Humanist Association
“The British Columbia Humanist Association has been providing a community and voice for Humanists, atheists, agnostics, and the non-religious of Metro Vancouver and British Columbia for over 30 years. We support the growth of Humanist communities across BC, provide Humanist ceremonies, and campaign for progressive and secular values.”
Engineers Without Borders Canada
Engineers Without Borders Canada focuses on creating systemic and lasting change to battle global poverty. Currently, their geographic focus is on sub-Saharan African countries, namely Malawi, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Zambia and Liberia. EWB invests in people – smart systems changers, and they incubate the systemic innovations that these leaders create to accelerate rural African development. It’s not about projects. It’s not about technology. It’s about people working with people to create lasting, scalable change that unlocks human potential.
Unlike their counterpart, the Salvation Army which is an evangelical Christian “charity” that is also politically and socially-active promoting religion, Goodwill is a secular organization that runs thrift stores coast-to-coast. From their page: “Our network of 165 independent, community-based Goodwills in the United States and Canada offers customized job training, employment placement and other services to people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges.”
An international organization that works around the world to increase women’s ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights, and to reduce abortion-related deaths and injuries.
There you have it. Donate to any of these fine organizations and I will count myself very fortunate to have such giving, compassionate people in my life. That’s all I need for Christmas.