Tag Archives: holidays

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.)

Feeling gratitude — from the heart (Blessings #1 and #2)

Counting your blessings this week for Thanksgiving? We are, too. Blessings #1 and #2: The people we serve and those who serve with us, and the many faithful donors and supporters of World Vision's work around the world. Thank you.

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I was in the Dominican Republic last year with World Vision.

On our last day there, the World Vision staff in Santo Domingo threw us a "goodbye" party. At some point during the festivities, I was asked to say a few words and then pray.

I don't remember what I said exactly, but I remember what happened after I finished. As I handed the microphone back to the sound guy, a woman grabbed my hand. And when my other hand was free, she grabbed it, too, and cupped them inside hers.

When she had my complete attention, the woman began talking. I couldn't understand what she was saying as she spoke in Spanish. I thought about stopping her so I could look around for somebody to translate her words, but so much was happening around us -- talking, laughing, shouting, music, and dancing -- that I felt compelled to keep my eyes on her, listen closely, and experience what she was saying.

But then came Sunday...

Just a few weeks ago, I walked in those places where Jesus walked in the Holy Land. It dawned on me yet again that Jesus did almost everything differently than conventional wisdom would have dictated. I visited Capernaum and Galilee, where most of His three-year ministry took place -- a "hick town" ten days' journey from Jerusalem. Not the best location to start a movement that would change the world.

I also walked in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He prayed in agony that night -- and then on to Jerusalem, where He appeared before Caiaphas and Pilate, and where He was beaten and spit upon. Jesus was no conquering hero in the manner of Caesar or Alexander the Great. And then I followed His footsteps along the Via De la Rosa to Calvary, where He was brutally crucified. Not the best strategy to overthrow Rome and declare your new kingdom.

As a marketer, Jesus didn't seem to understand "ratings" and size of audience. As a political figure, Jesus had a penchant for telling people what they didn't want to hear -- take up your cross, lay down your life, the first will be last. And as a leader of the Jewish people itching to be freed from Rome's occupation and oppression, He commanded no army, brandished no weapons, and wielded no force.

Everything He stood for seemed to be lost that Good Friday afternoon as His disciples watched Him suffer and die. Peter denied Him, and the rest scattered. The lofty ideals had been crushed. The movement had failed. End of story.

But then came Easter Sunday...He is risen!

I sometimes feel the work World Vision does around the world is met by human suffering that never ends. Twenty-two thousand kids still die every day, 1 billion go to bed hungry, and more than a third of the planet lives on less than $2 a day.