Decorating trees, baking cookies, wrapping presents; all these things are easily equated with the weeks leading up to Christmas. However Advent, with it’s 40 days and purple vestments, should also remind us of Lent and thus hopefully inspire us to include fasting, penance and almsgiving into our preparation, though to a lesser extent, as we approach the Savior’s birth. Admittedly, it’s hard to fast with so many feast days and “holiday” parties, and while standing in line at Walmart may seem penitential, we are usually too wrapped up in the joy of the season to think much of mortification. But almsgiving; it shouldn’t be much of a stretch for us to give a little extra this month when we’re already so focused on giving right? In fact, perhaps if we shift our focus to the right kind of giving we can take the limelight off all the stuff and back on the Savior. Here’s some ideas to bring charity back into your holiday plans.

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Spend time, not money. Work at a food pantry, organize a coat or canned food drive, carol at a nursing home, volunteer at a homeless shelter. Spend some of those vacation days doing something besides stuffing your face.

Give donations not just gifts. If someone on your list has a favorite charity, give a gift in their honor. We’ve also given animals through Heifer International. If there is a family in your parish or community who is struggling to make ends meet, offer to help shop for presents, food or give an early gift card so they can provide a happier holiday for their family. I’ve found people through Craigslist to help around Christmas. Ask your kids if they’d like to give one of their new presents to a child in need instead.

Purchase from charitable organizations. For the people on your list you want to buy gifts for, why not buy from an organization that helps small crafters bring their products to a larger market?

A great organization that’s giving back is Connected in Hope:

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[We’re] an innovative nonprofit social enterprise & lifestyle brand that empowers women  in Ethiopia to rise above poverty through sustainable income development.  Our mission is to break intergenerational cycles of poverty by providing women artisans with the tools they need to reclaim their own futures, provide for their children and transform their communities.

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Your purchase of one of their beautiful scarves, bags or jewelry pieces provides so much more than a Christmas present.

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I’m so happy to partner with Connected in Hope to give one lucky reader a chance to win a $35 gift credit towards anything in their store! If you can’t wait to shop, use the code KELLYFS15 for free shipping on your order!  I’m eyeing up the TIGIST two-toned tote and hoping Santa brings it for me instead of the usual lump of coal.

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Don’t delay! This giveaway ends Sunday night! You can also follow Connected in Hope on Facebook and Instagram. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now that you’ve entered, be sure to let me know: What suggestions or family traditions do you have for incorporating charitable giving into your holiday routine?

Gift Giving That Matters + A Giveaway with Connected in Hope!!!

26 thoughts on “Gift Giving That Matters + A Giveaway with Connected in Hope!!!

  • 12/08/2015 at 8:07 am
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    Connected in Hope has such lovely things! I, too, would love Santa to bring me something.

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  • 12/08/2015 at 8:32 am
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    I love to have one of their bags- esp. the Naomi purse, and their tea towels are so pretty too!

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  • 12/08/2015 at 8:44 am
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    This is beautiful, just beautiful. To see women being empowered in the true sense of the word is incredible; what a gift they are giving not only to themselves and their families, but future generations as well!

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  • 12/08/2015 at 9:57 am
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    I have bought scarves from CIH in the past and the quality and beauty is unsurpassed. Love that company and what they are doing. Thanks!

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  • 12/08/2015 at 10:14 am
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    CIH is such a wonderful organization….and their products are of amazing quality! As for charitable giving-we try to always take a tag off the giving tree of our church, and do some sort of volunteer work (advent event at our parish, church decorating, etc).

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  • 12/08/2015 at 11:50 am
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    They used to just sell scarves, right? I love the new leather bags!

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  • 12/08/2015 at 12:46 pm
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    The scarves are just beautiful!

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  • 12/08/2015 at 2:58 pm
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    Love the work they are producing, for such a great reason! 🙂 I would love one of their scarves! 🙂

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  • 12/08/2015 at 4:14 pm
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    That’s a great idea to purchase gifts from places like Connected in Hope. Will check them out now!!! Would love to win something!

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  • 12/08/2015 at 6:52 pm
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    I love the infinity scarves! And I’ll definitely be shopping for Christmas presents here in the future!

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  • 12/08/2015 at 7:23 pm
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    Oh my gosh! Everything is so beautiful. I kind of want to live in one of those leather totes.

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  • 12/08/2015 at 10:34 pm
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    What a lovely idea! I love supporting organizations that make a difference.

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  • 12/08/2015 at 11:05 pm
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    I love the jewelry – the necklaces are gorgeous!

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    • 12/08/2015 at 11:17 pm
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      As far as our charitable gift-giving, we LOVE Heifer International and used to give my sister-in-law goat parts for all gift-giving occasions because my husband traumatized her while reading that part of “Heidi”. Samaritan’s Purse has a similar catalog though it’s kind of Christian centric: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/gift-catalog

      I personally love Kiva.Org and my day is totally made when I have enough Kiva Credit to reloan.

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  • 12/09/2015 at 12:33 am
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    Such a neat place! Love their scarves!

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  • 12/09/2015 at 9:28 am
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    My children put aside a portion of their allowance for charity every week. During Advent (and often, Lent), they count up what they have saved and choose an organization for their donation. This way, they get to research and choose an organization (and we can talk about how to make good choices) and they have a sizable amount because they save most of the year for it.

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  • 12/09/2015 at 9:42 am
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    I love the two tone tote you wished for as well as the naomi purse & their tea towels!

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  • 12/09/2015 at 2:50 pm
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    The Fasika Foldover clutch is adorable! Would love for Santa to bring it!

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  • 12/09/2015 at 11:12 pm
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    Beautiful! SUCH a great idea for gifts. I can’t think of a woman in my life who wouldn’t love something from their shop! Thank you for sharing them with us!

    Kalin

    PS, I’m a new follower and first time commenter…..so HI 🙂

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  • 12/11/2015 at 2:45 am
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    What a wonderful organization. I love the tea towels; all of them are beautiful.

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