The gift that keeps on giving. Really.

The holiday season doesn’t officially start until you’ve seen Merry Christmas Charlie Brown! As it was on last night, courtesy of ABC, the holidays can start now. (Never mind I finished most of my Christmas shopping last Friday.)

What I love about the cartoon is that, as decades pass, the message remains the same: Christmas isn’t about commercialism. It’s about joy. Giving. Being thankful. Not aluminum pink trees.

With that in mind, I’m going to pass on one of my favorite Christmas gifts: a Kiva gift card.

Kiva is a microlending organization that provides loans to people in developing countries. You make a one-time (yes, really ONE time) donation, pick the person or persons you’d like to lend your money to, and send it through. You’re kept up to date on the repayments over the life of the loan, the amount being redeposited into your account (called a Kiva Credit). Once the entire amount has been repaid, you can either a) have the money sent back to you, or b) lend it again! And again! It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

(I should note that Kiva has not in any way, shape, or form provided payment or other form of compensation to me for this endorsement. I just think they’re awesome.)

I normally have a problem donating money. It seems like for every charity out there that actually puts most of your donation to good use there’s one that uses a large chunk of it to pay themselves (I’m looking at you, Children International!) Kiva lets me see exactly where my money is going.

Not into microlending? Since the holidays seem to equal tugging at your heartstrings, charities and non-profits are all clamoring for your donations at this time of year. Which bugs me, quite a bit. We’ve been conditioned to be more generous during the holidays when really, it should be year round. And I’m going to get off my soapbox right now, because I don’t have time for a full-fledged rant, so I’ll leave you with a couple of links. The first is to Kiva, the others are for those of you who want to check out different charities. These links will give you much more information on the charity you might want to donate to, and whether it’s worth your money.

Happy Chrismukkah!

www.kiva.org

http://www.charitywatch.org/

http://www.givewell.org/

*images via Kiva.org and ATRInternational.com

 

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