Gift Catalog

An open letter to our generous donors

In December, World Vision's Kirsten Stearns traveled with our True Spirit of Christmas Trip to Sri Lanka and Zambia to see firsthand how gifts from the Gift Catalog are helping to change the lives of children and families in need. Here, she shares an open letter with our donors, reflecting on how your generosity has helped make stories like these possible.

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DAY 4: How to milk a cow [VIDEO]

You voted to have Kirsten milk Chooti the cow... and so today, she did! And it went a little something like this....

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“Our journey began…”

This is how the DD Karunaratne, the father, described the impact of Chooti the cow on his family. When they received the cow, their journey began.

For the first time, they did not worry about their future. They had money to focus on health and education, and they had nutritious milk for their children. As he and his wife, Irangani, spoke with me, it was almost like the cow brought with her an entirely new life for the family.

DD Karunaratne is frequently ill. Before World Vision assisted them, they could not afford visits to the doctor, and so Irangani had to work because her husband couldn’t. The work available in their region is intense day labor, for which women are not first chosen.

Not only was it hard for a woman to find a job, but it was hard work and long hours. Despite her work, money was scarce.

Wars, floods and the gift of chickens (2011 True Spirit of Christmas)

Yesterday, November 28, marked the start of World Vision's 2011 True Spirit of Christmas trip -- a three-week quest to discover the true meaning of the season and to witness just how Gift Catalog donations impact children and families around the world.  This post was written by Kirsten Stearns, host for this year's trip, on day 1 from the community of Horowpothana in Sri Lanka. Stay up to date with our team on the World Vision Facebook page and website.


Although my time in Sri Lanka has been brief so far, I have learned a lot and am excited to spend more time with the community in the coming days.

Our Sri Lanka trip is based in the community of Horowpothana in the northern part of the country. This community is just coming out of 30 years of war, which ended in 2009 but was followed by one of the worst floods in the area on record. Despite all of this hardship, World Vision staff are working to help local community members lift themselves out of this terrible poverty cycle, fueled by years of war and natural disaster.

As the World Vision director in Horowpothana said, “Now people are looking forward and thinking about the future [not just about safety].”

A different kind of Cyber Monday

I dread holiday shopping.

It’s difficult enough to figure out just the perfect gift for each and every loved one on your holiday list. But if you add in the hassle of navigating crowded shopping malls, long lines, and busy parking lots, I know I’m destined for an instant stress headache before I even walk through the store’s doors.

No wonder so many of us have resorted to ditching traditional brick-and-mortar shopping and have opted for virtual shopping. And it’s no wonder this Cyber Monday could exceed $1 billion for the second year in a row.

I’ll admit -- I’ve given and received my fair share of Christmas sweaters. There is a stack in my closet, and I have no clue who gave them to me. Although they keep me warm, is it too idealistic to think I can actually give a gift that’s just a bit more impactful, or even potentially life-changing?

Holiday gift guide: 30 meaningful gifts under $50

Does your holiday shopping list look anything like this?

iPad 2: $499. Kindle Fire: $199. UGG boots: $150. Long lines. Busy parking lots. Good finds for $30 are now good finds for $50 -- and it's really a bargain if your $300 gift is reduced to $200 in a Black Friday sale.

If this sounds familiar, you can save your anxiety and checkbook this year by giving a gift whose impact will last much longer than the latest version of that electronic device. Celebrate the true spirit of Christmas this year with a gift that can change lives. Use this as your guide to some meaningful (and inexpensive) holiday gifts from World Vision's partners, our Gift Catalog, our U.S. programs team, and our Maximum Impact items!

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$35 per month: Sponsoring a child is the best Christmas gift you can give. World Vision sponsors help provide children with the basic building blocks for a better life: clean water, nutritious food, healthcare, education, economic development, and more. And child sponsorship provides such benefits not just for the sponsored child, but his or her family and community as well.

$25: Help fund a small loan for a hardworking entrepreneur who lives in poverty. One in every five people in the world lives on less than $1.25 a day. But through World Vision Micro, you can give a small business owner the help he or she needs to escape this cycle of despair. And when the loan is repaid, it's recycled to help even more entrepreneurs in need!

Starting at $24: Shop GIVEN, the new apparel line for men and women, inspired by World Vision. And today through Sunday, get FREE shipping on all orders! (Use code "THANKSGIVING" at checkout.)

Giving Christmas away

Not too long ago, I received the kindest of emails from Marina, the famed Energizer Bunnies' Mommy from the Energizer Bunnies' Mommy Reports blog. Marina shared with me an idea she and another blogger had about using their social media influence to inspire readers to make Christmas meaningful for more than just their own children this year.

This guest post from Marina (and this week's series on Marina's and Angie's blogs) is a result of their desire to "give" Christmas to those less fortunate in this country and around the world this holiday season. Thank you, Marina and Angie!
Lindsey, World Vision Blog

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Christmas is less than 50 days away. What’s on your child’s wish list?

A LeapPad Explorer? Let's Rock Elmo? A Fijit Friend? Oh, yes, the hottest toys of the season!

A treat for any child! Or is it?

Do you know what’s on these children’s wish list this Christmas?

Royal gift poll results

Elegant, regal, ceremonious, formal, beautiful -- these are all words that might be used to describe Prince William and Kate's wedding after this weekend's royal wedlock. But as any married person (or former wedding party member) knows, it is not without great planning that a "dream" wedding comes to life. There are dress fittings, cake tastings, floral appointments, seating charts... and perhaps one of the more exciting pre-wedding activities -- the gift registry.

But the royal couple is obviously not registering for towels, kitchen appliances and luggage. Instead, we love that they asked for donations to charitable funds, which got our blog team thinking -- if we were invited to the royal nuptials, what World Vision gift would we give William and Kate? So we polled our Facebook community. Here's what you all had to say...

Which World Vision gift would you give Prince William and Kate if you were invited to the royal wedding?

Total number of votes - 1,384

Most voted for World Vision gift - Education for orphans