Anyway, since the winter holidays are coming up, I wanted to share an idea for Christmas (or other holiday!) giving. Nick and I are pretty fortunate that all of our basic needs (food, clean drinking water, shelter, clothing, medicine) are met easily. As for our wants, we can usually afford the reasonably priced toys (camping gear, books, iPods, kitchen gadgets, etc.), and if we can't afford something, we can save up for it. If we can't save up for it, then we probably don't really "need" it (i.e., want it enough) anyway. So asking for material goods at the holidays isn't really what we prefer to do.
After all, I think most of us would agree that, if we had a magic wand or three wishes or whatever, we'd wish for things like peace, happiness, and a better life for the people, animals, and planet around us. With that in mind, Nick and I have for a couple of years now requested charitable donations to Vegan Outreach for Christmas. Vegan Outreach is an amazing organization that is directly working to reduce the suffering of animals who are forced to live on factory farms and die in slaughterhouses to satisfy our preference for the flesh of other creatures. Plus, we volunteer for them, so they must be cool, right?
We worked together to draft letters to send to our families to express our Christmas wishes. The following is the letter I sent to my family. I wanted to share it in the hopes that it might provide a little holiday inspiration. Here it is:
As Christmas approaches, I wanted to send out my Christmas "wish list." This year it's pretty simple. Nick and I are tremendously blessed with friends and family and a comfortable life, so we don't really need or want any material gifts. We would prefer something that, at its heart, would make the world a better place. As you know, we both are actively engaged with the animal advocacy group Vegan Outreach. They fight against factory farming as a way to reduce the suffering of animals. They are a dedicated, honest, and productive organization. Also, as a non-profit, all donations to them are tax-deductible.
Additionally, Vegan Outreach has been awarded the "Best In America" seal by the Independent Charities of America and the National Council of Nonprofit Associations--one of 1500 so designated, out of more than 50,000 that participate in the Combined Federal Campaign.
So instead of material presents, we would prefer donations to Vegan Outreach! You can donate securely online on their website here.
Finally, I'd like to note that you don't need to be vegetarian or vegan to donate, nor should you feel awkward about donating to a "vegan" charity. None of us are perfect, and we just do what we can to make the world a better place. Indeed, this is a major part of the Vegan Outreach "philosophy," as explained in one of their booklets called "Even If You Like Meat" (seen online here). We can't fix all the world's problems tomorrow, but we can chip away at injustice a little at a time!