Gift Catalog

The votes are in....

We asked if you would rather see Kris Allen attempt to make a bracelet with the artisans at Zakale creations or learn a dance from his new friends in Kenya. You voted -- now watch the video to find out the result!

[Video] An American Idol in Nairobi

In Nairobi, Kenya, on the first day of this year's True Spirit of Christmas tour, host Kris Allen met John Mucheru, founder of Zakale Creations.

John has founded a business that gives at-risk youth a chance to learn job skills, earn money, and most importantly, have the opportunity to live a better life.

Watch this video to see how Kris spent the day with John and some of the people whose lives have been impacted by Zakale Creations.

Giving new purpose to youth amid desperate need

American Idol's Kris Allen, host of this year's True Spirit of Christmas tour, writes about his experiences on his first day in Nairobi, Kenya, as he travels with World Vision to see how gifts donated through our Gift Catalog help change the lives of children and families in need.

Zakale: a new creation

Zakale is the Swahili word for what has been thrown away being made new again.

John Mucheru is a living example of this word. As a young man, John says he engaged in activities that were not pleasing to God. After turning his life over to the Lord, however, he discovered that he possessed a gift in art and handcrafts.

Kris Allen, meet Kenya

"Welp, we're in Nairobi now, and I am stoked about it." -Kris Allen

Kris and the World Vision team are on the ground in Narobi, Kenya.  In today's video update, Kris shares what he is thinking and feeling so far, and what you can expect from the True Spirit of Christmas tour in the coming weeks.

A more meaningful Cyber Monday

Laura Tremaine -- or Hollywood Housewife, as her readers know her -- traveled to Sri Lanka with the World Vision Bloggers this past August. Laura has seen for herself how lives can be transformed through the work of World Vision -- and today, Laura shares the top gifts on her list for Cyber Monday.

Black Friday: Gifts that give back

Forever long shopping lines. Sleep starved customers arguing over the last item in stock. People losing their lives in pursuit of the perfect flat screen tv.

Black Friday is a day that seems to bring out the worst in people. The terrible irony is that our ruthless desire to acquire comes after a day spent giving thanks. We are grateful, and then shop survival of the fittest style (hunger games anyone?).

Make this year's Black Friday different- put some giving back into gift shopping. Instead of fighting crowds for Black Friday sales, check out this list of gifts ideas. You'll be able to find something for everyone on your list, while helping others.

Get to know Kris Allen

Last Friday, we revealed that this year's True Spirit of Christmas tour would be hosted by American Idol winner Kris Allen.

As Kris and the World Vision team get ready for the journey to Kenya, we had a chance to ask Kris some questions. Read on to learn more about Kris -- and be sure to follow the tour, starting November 25, to hear stories of how the lives of children, families, and communities in need are being transformed by gifts donated through the World Vision Gift Catalog!

True Spirit of Christmas Tour

The True Spirit of Christmas tour is right around the corner. We are excited to announce this year's celebrity host-- American Idol Winner Kris Allen!

Kris will be traveling to Kenya with a team from World Vision to see how the gifts you give like goats, chickens, and ducks are changing lives for the better. You will get a first hand look into how these gifts bring help and hope to families in need.

A birthday celebration that will help change lives

Bethany Detweiler didn't want a ordinary birthday, so she did something extraordinary.

Instead of asking for presents, she set a goal to raise $12,000 through My Gift Catalog, a tool that gives users the opportunity to raise funds to donate items through World Vision's Gift Catalog.

Bethany shares what inspired her to help others -- and how she plans on reaching her goal.

A goat is more than just a goat

If you're considering honoring a loved one with a gift through the World Vision Gift Catalog this Christmas season, you may be wondering how a goat, chicken, or cow impacts the lives of the people who are on the receiving end.

The gift of a farm animal can equip and empower a family in ways that you might not expect. For example, a goat's milk, cheese, and yogurt can help nourish hungry children and families. A surplus of any of those items can be sold at market for extra income, as can the goat's offspring. The money earned can be used to help pay for school fees, medical bills, or other basics.

Check out the infographic below to get a better idea of how a simple gift through our Gift Catalog can become a sustainable means by which a child, family, and even entire community can escape poverty.

The 2012 True Spirit of Christmas is coming!

Last year, hosts Kirsten Stearns and Alex Boylan traveled to Sri Lanka and Zambia with World Vision's True Spirit of Christmas team to show you how lives were being changed by items donated through the World Vision Gift Catalog.

This year, a brand-new adventure awaits. Where will the 2012 True Spirit of Christmas tour take us? Who will be our celebrity hosts? Stay tuned to find out!

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?