Wednesday, December 22, 2010

4 Free Ways to Be a Christmas Angel

Times are tight for all of us. You may not have any extra cash this holiday season, but that doesn't mean you can't give worthwhile gifts that will make a difference in someone's life.

Here are 4 ways to be a Christmas angel, even if you have less money to spend than Bob Cratchit. They won't cost you a dime, but all will provide rich rewards that last far into the new year...

1. Let Your Words Put Food on Someone's Table

Follow this blog or leave a comment below. I'll donate $1 to Heifer International for every new follower and every commenter between now and 12:00 midnight EST December 24.

I wish I could take credit for this fantastic idea, but it originated last year with then-uberagent Nathan Bransford, who kicked off his "Making Spirits Bright With Heifer" campaign, in which he pledged to donate $1 to Heifer International.

Last year my fabulous commenters made a gift of bees possible. All told, Mr. Bransford's idea raised over $2000 for Heifer. Just from people like you typing a few words in the comments sections of blogs like this.

When you've joined this blog or left a comment below, be the gift that keeps on giving!

Visit Nathan Bransford's blog (he did it again this year, too: donating $1 to Heifer International for every comment through 6 PM Wed., Dec. 22, PST). Comment on all the blogs listed on his post that are still open. (This will be one of them. As of this writing, there are 14 listed.) Then, click on any blogs linked below and comment there, too! If you join or comment on 20 blogs, that's $20 you've contributed to help someone -- just from typing in a few words of commentary!

If you'd like to contribute in a tangible way to Heifer International and make a positive difference in another person's 2010 holiday season, write a dedicated blog post about it and add your blog to the Linky list below:

2. Follow the Leaders

Bestselling author & agent Jason Pinter (@jasonpinter) launched the #donaterif Twitter campaign yesterday to raise money for Reading Is Fundamental.

Lots of your favorite writers, publishers, editors, and agents -- as well as "regular readers" have jumped on board. Most have pledged $1 for every new Twitter follower they get between now and December 31.

Shelf Media Group has a list of all #donaterif participants. As I write, there are 42 names on the list.

If you are on Twitter, just adding these people to those you follow will give the gift of reading to someone else who needs it. If you're not on Twitter, there is no better time to sign up. You'll never find a better list of recommended folks to follow!

If you do nothing more than comment on the blogs listed in #1 and follow those on #2, your actions will raise over $50 for two very worthy charities! Even if you can't afford to donate a cent yourself.

If, however, you want to be personally involved in gift-giving this year, here are a few more suggestions that are within the means of everyone:

3. Pass the Book

If you're a writer or a reader, chances are you have shelves full of books. And some of those books probably haven't been opened in over a year.

Why not free up some of that shelf space and donate the books you haven't read in the past 12 months to people who will read them now? Many homeless shelters, Goodwill industries, soup kitchens, libraries, hospitals, nursing homes, school districts, and church groups will jump at the chance to take your books to new readers. Often, your donation will also qualify for a tax receipt, which is a "win" for all concerned!

4. Tell a Story

Contact your local hospital, hospice at home, homeless shelter, or preschool and volunteer to read to those who can't.

Take your favorite book or ask if they have a preference, then spend an hour or two of your time sharing your love of the written word with others. Imagine: if you were too sick, blind, harried, or humbled to be able to relax with a book -- wouldn't you appreciate someone taking the time to transport you to a lovely literary world for a few moments? Pick up the phone and make a few calls. I predict your gift will be greatly welcomed.

I don't know who to attribute the sentiment to, but it's true:

"Measure your wealth not in what you have, but in what you have for which you would accept no money."

Have a blessed holiday!


Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I love your donation ideas! I'm especially guilty of not donating the books that have lingered on my shelves and should be passed on. That goes on my post-holiday to-do list.

I'm a new follower as well! Thanks for supporting Heifer! :)

RobynBradley said...

I ditto what Susan says -- great ideas. I used to volunteer in a nursing home and the residents love visitors, especially kids. Anyhow, yay Heifer! Cheers! :)

Ami Hendrickson said...

Thanks for the comments, Robyn & Susan! You guys rock! Spread the word & let's help Susan get those llamas. I'm leaning towards several hives of bees myself...

Onward & upward!

The GypsyNesters said...

Great idea! Great cause!

Tawna Fenske said...

What a lovely idea! Thanks for doing this!


Ami Hendrickson said...

Thanks for stopping by, GypsyNesters & Tawna! This is rapidly becoming of my favorite Christmas traditions! :)

RedHeadedQuilter said...

I left a comment on Nathan's blog too and retweeted his blog and yours. I don't have many followers, but I hope it helps!

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Here's my comment for your drive!

For those looking to donate books, here's an opportunity; a school library that's looking for some (it's not my blog, but I donated):

Gretchen said...

Happy holidays, and thanks for doing this! Very cool. :) You've got some great donation ideas, too.

Steph Sinkhorn said...

Comment for charity! Thanks for being awesome :) Great ideas listed, as well :D

Mira said...

What a great post! Thank you! And yay for Heifer and yay for you for doing this. :)

Have a truly wonderful holiday!

Ami Hendrickson said...

Thanks for the comments & the links to other blogs doing the same thing! Yay for Heifer!

Also, at last count, #donaterif had 58 Tweeple participating.

Keep it up people! Follow, comment, pat self on back. Repeat... :P

JoyfulA said...

I'm a follower of RedHeadedQuilter and a Heifer fan. This year my personal Christmas present to my family is a contribution to a homeless shelter where I have volunteered as a host. (Last year, I gave them two full grocery carts to the food bank.)

Anna said...

Thanks for the thoughtful post! Happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

Hello back :)

Louise Curtis (pledging $1 for every comment this week up to $500, yet posting anon because unable to make other blogs play nice with mine atm).

Nathan Bransford said...

Hooray for Heifer!

Ami Hendrickson said...

Two more days to go. I'd love to be able to vie w/ Susan Kaye Quinn & donate a couple flocks o' ducks or hives o' bees to go with her llamas!

Thanks to all new followers and to all who have commented. Honored to meet you.

BJ said...

You caught me in a weak moment. Good luck with this!

alexia said...

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. I have horses, too! I'm so excited about everyone's Heifer gifts!

adriennebarr said...

What great ideas! Merry Christmas!

D.G. Hudson said...

Bravo for helping those in need. Your help will mean a brighter future in 2011 for someone.

I've come over to comment from Nathan Bransford's blog.

Best wishes to you in 2011!

Audra Krell said...

These are wonderful, deeply giving ideas! Thank you for making a difference!

The Vintage Reader said...

What a great idea! I think it's already past 6 p.m. on the west coast, so I missed Nathan's already, but am off now to start following and stuff. :-)

Ami Hendrickson said...

Thanks to all who have commented and followed so far. While it's true that Mr. Bransfield's deadline has passed, there are still links on his blog to bloggers that are still participating. It's worth the time to check them out.

Tell those you know to keep leaving comments or following here. The cutoff is Christmas Eve, December 24, at 11:59 p.m. Lots of time still for comments to add up to a sizeable chunk of change!

Bless you all for taking the time to comment. Happy holidays.

erica and christy said...

Thank you for contributing to such a worthy cause.

I'm a farmer's wife and wish for no child to ever go hungry again.

I'm a preschool teacher and wish for no child to ever go without books. Ever.

You seem to hold the same values. Merry Christmas and wishing you all the best 2011 has to offer!!!

Andi Newton said...

Thank you for doing this! I know you, Nathan, and all the other participating bloggers are going to help a lot of people.