The light that never goes out.

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As Black Friday approaches, I’m thankful that our family has never bought into the whole consumer shit-show.

Our Christmas has never revolved around gift giving-with one exception.

Our Christmas tradition is to pick a worthy charity every year, and pool our money to make a one-time donation. The receiver varies from year to year, and it is fun to look at all the opportunities.

This year, we’re contemplating buying a water buffalo for a needy family in India. What gift under a tree would not pale before something that cool? “New iPod? Nice, but check this big, snorting monster out!”

In the past, we’ve fixed kid’s cleft palates, bought groceries for an AIDs orphanage, paid for wells and helped missionaries bring supplies to remote villages.

Posting this does sound “holier than thou”. But I work part-time in a running shoe store in a mall, and am always saddened to see how stressed and unhappy folks are this time of year, frantically buying garbage that is meaningless.

A charity gift frees you from all this insanity. You never know who these gifts help-or how. But nothing warms your heart like a gift that ripples out and keeps on giving.

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