the always awesome RedZilla, as she does on occasion, took an inane QotD about Black Friday shopping and turned it into an essay on mindless gift-giving and charitable options. go read the post if you haven't.
I started to leave a comment there but it got too long, so I decided it to make a post out of it.
I am always amazed at the frenzy of shoppingshoppingshopping every Christmas; it has been many years and I'm amazed anew each time. and is not only the shopshopshop but the stress and the panic and the "omfg, I forgot to get a gift for my sister-in-law's parents!". that ain't for me. I got enough to do as it is.
several years ago teh SO and I made an announcement: henceforth we get Christmas gifts to the kids (defined as "have-not-finished-high-school" and each of our mothers. that's it. it took a few years for our respective families to accept our stance and there were some awkward moments, with sisters and sisters-in-law handing us "our present" and getting nothing in exchange but a gentle reminder of our stance. eventually everyone learned to not get us gifts.
in the last few years I've been delighted to hear my mom say "we have too much stuff, don't get us anything. if you want to, make a donation to Code Pink or the International Red Cross" which I'm more than happy to do. I am also glad that for the last two years my 11-year-old niece has requested her gift be a donation to Unicef.
we give locally, mostly to God's Pantry and to Hospice; I think this year we'll add Heifer International and Kiva.