The James Garfield Christmas (And Hanukah) Miracle Returns. Sort of.

This post is going to be crazy-ass hard to follow but it’s probably worth it, so buckle-up, buttercup.

Last year my lovely readers accidentally forced me to save Christmas by making me let them buy Christmas presents for children who might not have had any otherwise.  It’s hard to explain, so instead I’m going to send you to a link explaining how a giant, taxidermied boar’s head (named James Garfield) led to strangers donating over $40,000 to other strangers in what was probably the most baffling and profanity-filled Christmas miracle ever.  It was awesome.

This year I’ve had a lot of people ask if I’m doing the accidental-Christmas-miracle again this year and my first reaction was a resounding, “Oh, hell no.”

And that’s still my reaction.

But here’s the thing…almost all of the people asking if I’m doing the Christmas Miracle again this year are the people who were helped last year.  Except that this year they want to give back, because they were so moved by the way strangers reached out to help them last year that they want to pay it forward.

Holy crap, you people make it difficult to be all hard and grinchy.  And I suppose that’s why I love you. Grudgingly.  And completely.

But here’s the problem:  Last year I was so completely overwhelmed and exhausted that I found myself in a stress-induced rheumatoid arthritis flare-up that made me want to cut off all of my limbs.  And then I’d just be a torso.  No one wants that.

Tons of people have offered to help, but honestly the whole thing sounds suspiciously like a plot to make me lead some sort of annual charitable, good-will organization and I think I speak for all of us when I say that that is a terrible idea.  My skills are much used in buying giant metal chickens, and harassing Nathan Fillion It’s what I do.

So for the last month I’ve been thinking about what I could do to still help people while not actually having to do any work whatsoever.  And I think I have it.  Lightly organized good-deed doing.  Like, almost not organized at all.  Practically chaos, really.  Which is, I think, what you’ll all agree that I excel in.  So here’s how we’re doing The Second (and possibly last) Annual James Garfield Christmas (and Hanukkah) Miracle(s):

Miracle # 1:  Right now there are more more homeless children living in shelters in the U.S. since the Great Depression.  There’s an organization called Project Night Night that donates over 25,000 free Night Night Packages to homeless kids each year.  Each package contains a new security blanket, a children’s book and a stuffed animal, all nestled in a new canvas tote bag.  The organization needs at least 750 bags right now.  They’re $20 each, and you can sponsor a Night Night Package for a child by clicking here.

Miracle #2:  Toys for Tots.  Every year Victor and I donate a shitload of toys in my parent’s name. We take pictures of the donation and then give the pictures to my parents and thank them for teaching me the importance of giving to others.  End result:  Kids get presents and my parents feel awesome for raising me right (even though a horrible side-effect is that they haven’t gotten a proper Christmas present from us in a decade.)  But they’re cool with it because they’re not assholes.  My point is that you should consider doing this for your parents, because if they make you feel crappy about it they’re terrible people and don’t deserve proper presents anyway.  Moving on.

Miracle #3:  The Heifer Project.  Basically it’s about giving livestock and training to families around the world, because llamas are awesome.  Or something.  I don’t know.  I get confused after I see the llamas.  But I do know that they do amazing work and that you can buy a share of a goat for $10.  Which is great because you’re helping a family in need and you also get to tell your horrible aunt Frieda (who made you feel fat when you were 12 and won’t stop asking why you aren’t married yet) that for Christmas you bought a share of a goat in her honor.  The ass end.  Merry Christmas to everyone concerned.

Miracle #4:  This one is closest to last year’s bonanza, but I’m also shining a blinking “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK” sign here because this one takes some trust.  There’s a website called Wish Upon a Hero.  The premise is that anyone can post a wish for something they need.  Sometimes people ask for encouragement, or for cards to cheer up a sick kid, or for clothes, toys, food, whatever.  If you’re someone currently in need of help, sign up and make a wish.  If you want to give help to someone in need then sign up and go here to find the kind of wish you want to grant.   It can be as simple as a word of encouragement or winter coats for children.  Your choice.

Miracle #5:  Just by reading this far you have already donated.  Tonight I’m donating $1,000 to the places above in the name of “You and everyone you know.”  And before you think this is totally selfless, please know that the $1,000 came from my online store, so technically  this money came from you anyway.  That’s why it is entirely ethical for you to tell friends and family that this year instead of giving out gifts you’re just giving to charity.  And that way you can use the money you would have spent on crap-for-people-who-don’t-need-more-crap on something more useful instead.  Like mortgages.  And pie.  And goat asses for bitter aunts who need to learn to mind their own damn business.

The fine print:   If you’re inspired to donate, please feel free to leave a comment telling us what you’re doing.  I loved seeing that stuff come in last year and I know it was inspiring to others as well.

If you leave a comment asking for help you can link to your Wish Upon a Hero post, but please don’t leave your email or contact info in your comment or it won’t get posted.

If you want to share a link of another charity that you love, or links to resources that people can use if they need help please do so.

And finally…thank you.  Thanks for listening, and for caring, and for reading this far.  

We’re all in this together, people.  

UPDATED:  I just bought a llama.  In a shopping cart.  Technology is weird.  And awesome.

621 thoughts on “The James Garfield Christmas (And Hanukah) Miracle Returns. Sort of.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I have never actually gotten this close to being number one before. Jenny, thanks for the tips on where to donate money to such great causes. I love your blog and love that you pay it forward with this idea plan. Everyone is struggling and another way to give is to support your local non profit radio station or local non profit of your area. They can certainly use the money at any time of the year. The arts is certainly not over funded these days.

  2. You’re awesome. And Project Night Night is the exact kind of thing I would like to donate to. Thanks for being amazing!

  3. WHat the heck, am I really this first commenter? Ding DIng Ding! PRizes, people, prizes, for me!!! This isn’t about me. I love that first giving suggestion about the blankets and jamies for homeless kids. I am planning on going there internetedly and giving. Because I KNOW what a big fucking deal it is to get kids to sleep happily, even when they have the comfiest freakin’ bed and home and all that shite. As I typed that my littlest one came down for one last hug. Next her anxiety over puking will kick in. And she will ask, “Are you confident that I will not throw up?” SO I cannot imagine having to BE or HAVE a little lovie that has to learn to sleep in different places, scary places, cold places, awful places. Thanks for all the love you throw around, Bloggess.

  4. Every year on Black Friday I go out shopping and when I hit Toys R Us I ALWAYS buy 3 toys in different age groups to put into the Toys For Tots bin. This year was no different except in that I had my 15 year old daughter along. When she made her purchase the lady at the register asked if she would like to donate $1 to the Toys For Tots fund. My daughter said yes I would but can I make that $40? She gave them all of her money (except what she was using to buy her 7 year old sister a gIft) and asked her friends to donate instead of buying her a gift. I am one proud mama 🙂

    P.S. I think you rock!

  5. I am always in awe of you, first that you can be totally down to earth, be so funny I have to go to the bathroom before I read your stuff, and that you obsess over the same stuff I do , (read Nathan Fillion in this)
    Thank you Jennifer for nor being the Grinch
    Kathryn
    @Thrushiebaby

  6. No longer the first commenter. Oh well, I feel like I win a prize just being part of this crazy, zany spot on the world wide web.

  7. You’re the greatest. Plus I’m really excited because my significant other bought me an ornament from your online store. It sounded great before, it sounds awesome now. Thank you for being you.

  8. Awesome Jenny. I read what you did last year and it was amazing. I cried. A lot. I really wish that I could give back this year but I’m in such a terrible place (long story) that I just can’t do it. Thanks for posting the sites that people can use though. Merry Christmas (and I hope your bitter aunt likes her goat butt)! ?

  9. Just as an FYI for everyone here:

    One of my friends runs Geeks for Tots (http://www.geeksfortots.com/), where if you send him a picture of you donating to Toys for Tots, you’re entered to win a bunch of really geeky prizes donated from really geeky companies. So if you’re on the fence about donating, check it out, and maybe that will convince you to participate!

  10. Perfection!
    I’m going to refrain from buying the ass end of a llama in honor of my ex-husband (or that bitch who took my parking spot at Target today) and will be participating in Wish Upon a Hero. Fantastic idea, Jenny!!

  11. You make me smile 🙂
    I wanted to share that if your followers don’t have the extra money to spare to help out others, they can donate their hair to Locks of Love. 10″ of their hair helps make a wig for a child who needs one. And some salons will even cut their hair for free! Have a Merry Christmas!

  12. You are awesome! 🙂 I love each idea, but I am particularly fond of the Project Night Night. Seriously? For only $20 you can give all of that? Awesome. For only $10 you can give a year’s supply of clean water to a child in Haiti (https://secure.unicefusa.org/site/Donation2?df_id=9401&9401.donation=form1). Or how about anti-malaria tablets for thirty children for $31 (https://secure.unicefusa.org/site/Ecommerce/1142608378?VIEW_PRODUCT=true&product_id=3142&store_id=4221)? The possibilities are endless! 🙂 Instead of going out to dinner one night or treating yourself to that massage, put the money towards someone that needs it. Merry Christmas! Thanks, Jenny! 🙂

  13. My girls and I collect and bought items and are sending them to 6 service members still in Afghanistan this Christmas! You are an amazing woman and my girls and I plan on doanting to Toys For Tots and Angels at Christmas! Thank you!

  14. How did you know my bitter aunt would just love a goat ass for Christmas?

    I also help out DonorsChoose.org quite a bit. They help teachers fund classroom needs, and you can choose the project you’d like to donate to.

    Now I’m going to go check out your other links. You are excellent. Thank you.

  15. The link to wish upon a hero didn’t work. It’s org, not com. Just letting ya know, thanks for sharing these charity ideas with us!

  16. ‘If you’re inspired to donate, please feel free to leave a comment telling us what you’re doing.’

    Oh. Well don’t read my blog on Wednesday when I have scheduled a post entitled ‘Charity aint charity if you brag about it. It is public masturbation’

    Because I am an arsehole.

    Sort of.

    (Yes, but you’re *my* arsehole, old friend. ~ Jenny)

  17. In the future, if you ever want to run another all out Christmas (or Hanukah) miracle, I know that I would be willing to volunteer to help match donors and receivers. Don’t know if it’s something you would ever be willing to do again, even if you had tons of help, but I’m willing to bet there would be other volunteers.

  18. Terrific post. I’m involved with Dress for Success Pittsburgh, Fayette County branch. We help disadvantaged women enter the workplace with our suiting program and offering ongoing support and training, as well as a Professional Women’s Group. http://www.dressforsuccess.org. Check it out!! 🙂

  19. Excellent. I’ll feel charitable every time I wear my “when your wrong..” shirt.
    This is awesome. We do the chicks and goats thing every year for our parents, and they for us. Brilliant and clutter free.

  20. Retweeted. I’m waiting a little, but I’m giving to Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International, and Save Our Strength. My family has no need for stuff from me.

  21. The ways in which this year’s format is a winning format.
    1. It will not cause you a painful arthritis flare-up or spiral you into a stress-induced, Nathan Fillion related stalking incident.
    2. It isn’t trying to make last’s years miracle happen again because that truly seems like a once in a blogtime event.
    3. It gives readers a way to help or get help, whichever boat they happen to be in this year.

    I’m off to make a donation to Project Night Night.

  22. Your blog made me cry today, in the best way possible. Thank you for this, for being so upbeat even when your body is a pain in the neck. I know how hard that can be!

  23. Great places to choose from. I had just been wandering the Internet for my place to donate this year. I think I’ve decided on http://www.fallenheroesproject.org/. Using the family’s favorite photo, professional portrait artist Michael Reagan creates custom, hand-drawn portraits free of charge to the families of all servicemen and women who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. Money is used to assist Michael in this profound labor of love by helping to cover the cost of shipping his beautiful creations. It’s tax deductible also. So far he’s made over 2,500 portraits.
    Thanks for inspiring us all to give this season!

  24. fabulous post and incredible ideas! I think in general folks REALLY want to help, they just need some ideas. This year, as every year for the past 5 or so, we are sponsoring a family through The Childrens Cancer Association (www.childrenscancerassociation.org), which brings “joyrx” to families with kids going through life threatening disease… whatever it is they need to make the pokes and surgeries and long hours in the hospital more bearable!

  25. Dear Bloggess,
    I just donated to Project Night Night. As a stuffed panda, I think it is important for children to have a blankie and a stuffed animal to keep them company. It’s great that you can be so funny, yet so caring. If you ever need anything, the Cute Little Bear Pack has your back!
    Love,
    Cute Little Bear

  26. This year, I’ve decided to participate in the Team in Training Vancouver Marathon event, and with this event I raise money to help those with blood cancers receive treatment they simply cannot afford and also portion of the monies goes to researching safer, more effective treatments. I am asking my friends and family to donate to my fundraiser rather than buy me Christmas presents, and it has given me a lot to think about and be thankful for over this holiday season. I enjoy EVERY post on your blog, and this one is even more touching. Thank you for your humor, and your generosity!

  27. This one is specific to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in Minnesota, but one of the radio stations here does this every year (and has for the last 20 years) – it’s their Christmas Wish. They help out families around the Twin Cities who have fallen on hard times, and they focus on people who are in these predicaments through no fault of their own (trying to weed out the people who just overspent beyond their means and aren’t very responsible from the people who are trying to make ends meet with 2 jobs, 3 small kids, no health insurance, etc). On Tuesday, they did their annual Wish A Thon and granted a wish every hour from 6am to 6pm, taking donations from anyone and everyone. They ended up raising over $30k that day, but they can use more because starting on Monday, they’re going to be granting a wish every day through Christmas. These are completely deserving families, and any amount can help. The Dave Ryan show bends over backwards for these families, so help out if you can!

    I know it’s a local sort of charity, but these families need help just as much as any other family.

    http://www.daveryanshow.com/pages/christmaswish/

  28. I am glad you aren’t just a torso, because you probably wouldn’t be able to write such wonderful things for your blogs and Twitter, and our lives would thus be emptier and bereft of meaning. Not to mention lots of laughs.

    I have splurged my eggnog fund on NightNight and Toys for Tots donations. Those are great charities, and great opportunities to share some of our good fortune with those in need.

    A couple of my other favorite places to give:
    http://www.bogolight.com/ — buy a solar-rechargeable light, and another will be given to someone in need in the developing world or crisis area
    http://www.nothingbutnets.net/ — donate bed netting to help prevent malaria infection
    http://www.unicef.org/ — UNICEF, doing all kinds of great things for kids

    I can think of several people I would like to give the back end of goats to, but they are all the back ends of horses so there is no need to amplify the effect. If they bothered to think of others less fortunate — as you have — they might actually graduate to the front of the horse. Or goat. Or some other suitable creature.

    Thanks, Jenny.

  29. You can also buy gifts that are fair trade and help others, or choose MANY gifts, from helping bring water, medical supplies and so many choices here: https://www.thehungersite.com/store/client-side.do?siteId=220&categoryId=253&adId=20373&placementId=207181&origin=ctg_ths_home_from_bcs_thankyou_sitenav&sort=Most%20Popular For the past few years one of my daughter’s Chanukah gifts was a high efficiency stove– when you think that $15 can help a woman not go into areas for wood and risk rape, it’s one hell of a great gift (https://www.thehungersite.com/store/item.do?&item=High-Efficiency%20Stoves%20for%20Darfur%20Refugees&itemId=31012&siteId=220&sourceClass=Category&sourceId=253a)

  30. Thanks so much for this. I donated to Project Night Night on behalf of my ten month old son, who has more blankets from people who love him than I can count. Now we’ve helped five more kids have blankets too.

  31. You harass Nathan Fillion?? How did I miss that?? Um, I may have gotten derailed from the point of your blog. Sorry.

  32. and this is why you are one of the best people I (don’t) know. Thank you for speading love instead of onsumerism. That is exactly what this world needs. #occupythebloggess

  33. Well now I feel kinda guilty for not buying that damn “I have nothing to say to you” mug.

    You’re better than an ex mother-in-law.

    Damn it.

  34. Okay so I just did the $20 Project Night Night. I am so lucky, tight as money is, to have a roof over my head and a child who has never gone without essentials. Thank you for the suggestion.

  35. Love this! I bought a boatload of $4/5 games on Black Friday that we are donating to Toys For Tots; the kids love doing it.

    I also love to give socks! Yes, socks! Check out Hannah’s Socks, a charity started by a little girl who wanted homeless people to have new socks. See: http://www.hannahssocks.org/

  36. I “adopted” a kid from Hatteras Island. They were hit really hard by Hurricane Irene and 3 cities on the island were heavily damaged and a lot of the families lost everything they own in the flooding. It wasn’t widely publicized (outside of the road being washed out) but it happened. I visit there almost every year so I wanted to give back in a small way. Kids don’t understand why Santa can’t come because the insurance asshats aren’t paying up… so I hope that I help in some small way.

    http://www.facebook.com/HatterasIslandAngelTree if you would like to fully donate or do a partial donation.

    I also plan on doing some of the above listed, thanks for them! I vastly prefer to give rather than receive this time of year!

  37. Your accidental miracle last year was amazing. It made me cry knowing people were willing to help us, complete strangers offering that. Amazing. Although we are still not in the financial boat to give back fully, we did donate everything (like really everything) “baby” in the house we had from our daughters. Like I made my daughter move up a size in clothes just so i could donate more. Including a carseat (dont worry she has one, just a “big girl” seat). All went to our local CPS, with specific instructions the items were to go to foster kids. Because the foster kids really do get the proverbial shaft and it breaks me just thinking about it. They’re the innocent ones.
    Wow. Now I’m going to :step off my soap box: and slip back into the “behind the scenes”….
    Again, though, thank you.

  38. I adopted two kids from my college’s version of an Angel Tree. I chose two brothers who were the same age as my sons. Then I managed to con my kids into chipping in $10 each toward the gifts. We went to Target and loaded them up. I have four gift bags for each of them. Tomorrow is the event where the kids receive it all.

  39. You know I think your back half of a goat just might top the gift I was thinking about giving. I just got a email from PETA (don’t judge me I go there for recipes) and they asked if I would donate $50 so a cat or dog could have its balls cut of; of course this could also be given as a gift to a family member. I so wanted to say “Merry Christmas Dad in honour of you I gave money so a dog can lose its nuts”. Its a good cause and I know allot of people who have benefited for their dogs. Now I can’t decide between a goats back end or helping a dog lose its nuts. Decision decisions.

  40. This is seriously amazing. I especially love Project Night Night! I know if I had been a homeless kid, a stuffed animal, blanket, and book are exactly what I would have wanted. Definitely plan to donate! Thank you for sharing these and starting up another year of miracles!

  41. The social media community in Boise, Idaho is crowdsourcing Christmas for 20 families in need through Care2ShareBoise: http://care2share.posterous.com. The effort is organized by the founding partner of Wire[stone] Tony Schlangen and his assistant Brie Bolopue, along with a team of volunteers from the social media community. This is the best example I’ve seen of using social media for good, and I’m honored to be a small part of it.

  42. Thats amazing. My step mom and some poor kid in Africa both deserve a goat ass this year.

    Thanks for making Christmas bright! I’ll be donating in the name of snarkyness and the Bloggess.

  43. You make me laugh (and did so again this time) but you just made me bawl like a fucking two-year-old who is devastated to find out gravity is, like, permanent. So Happy Freaking Holidays and rest well knowing you’re helping everyone but me, who you’re reduced to a whimpering pool of tears right when I should be working. And cleaning. And doing some other shit. We always give Heifer International gifts in the name of nice relatives, but now I’m inspired to donate for the assholes, too. I think people who thwart me need their name on a share of a water buffalo.

  44. Please consider adding DonorsChoose.org to your list of worthwhile causes.
    It is a web site where teachers post for funding for specific items. You do not have to fund an entire project, just what you can afford. You can search for projects by location, grade level, or subject (math, art supplies, etc.).
    Yesterday I purchased books for an inner city high school lit. class.
    If you are able to donate $100 or more, the students will write you thank you notes & DonorsChoose.org will forward the notes to you.
    In the past couple of years, I have given gift certificates to my mom & mother-in-law for Mother’s Day so they can select a project to support.

  45. Jenny I think this is a fabulous idea!! You have my apologies.. I took a shot in the dark the other day and posted on last years thread.. not because I could help.. I swear it rained locusts this year and those bastards show no sign of leaving! Anyway!! I know chronic pain and I would not want your arthritis acting up!! Wish upon a hero is being a brat.. ha! I deleted my account there after my Christmas angels came along last year.. after I get some caffeine dripping into my system in the morning I will email and try to figure out why I can’t get back in. Thank you to you and your band of Merry clucking chicken Beyonce Christmas elves.. I thought I would be giving back this year.. Health problems pinned me to the ground.. Why couldn’t it have just been a large chicken?? 😛 Happy Merry everything to everyone.. may you all be blessed!! Jenny .. sit back and relax!! You soooo deserve it this year!! 🙂

  46. Jenny, your selflessness (and taxidermied miracle makers) never cease to amaze me. Our family participates in Angel Trees and “Adopt A Child” through the local foster care agency – just another opportunity to be anonymous and bring some joy to those who aren’t as fortunate as we happen to be this year.

  47. I’m kind of worried that too many people have aunts that need goat asses. I worry about all those headless asses out there… Or assless heads.

  48. Excellent. Now I can give to charity *and* not have to buy something for my friend’s kid for his First Birthday Party!! First birthday party? Like the kid cares yet. All he wants is cake.

  49. Project Night Night won my heart! Donating in the name of all the laughs Beyonce brought me this year. Thank you for facilitating the joy of the season!

  50. Jenny – Thanks for being willing to at least point people in some charitable directions. I would like to add one thing to the list if anyone so desires: Project Linus. Project Linus – in reference to Linus from Peanuts who always carries around a blankie – is an organization that gives hand made blankets to children 0-18. Often these children have been in the hospital quite a while and a splash of color of their own blanket gives them a lot of comfort. My father died of cancer awhile back, and even he enjoyed the blanket we made him for his hospital stay. It brings a little comfort of home to those in need. You can make a blanket and give it to your local chapter, you can start your own chapter, or you can donate. Just go to this website and click on “You Can Help”. http://www.projectlinus.org/
    Thanks to everyone who is considering giving to charity this year!

  51. Great ideas! I’m a long-time supporter of our local Meals on Wheels program that takes meals to house-bound senior citizens. And local food banks always need help!

  52. In lieu of giving the ass-end of a llama to a small child, you can also get on my personal bandwagon made entirely of soapboxes, by helping out kids who are so lovingly referred to as “wards of the state” right here in neat ol’ Texas, with a nifty tax-deductible donation to your local CASA (court appointed special advocates) association, who will in turn spend that money on kids in foster care, or kids who are placed with relatives who can’t remotely afford said kids. I cannot, however, promise that CASA will provide an orphan with a llama, goat, or pony.
    Check it. http://www.texascasa.org/index.php/support-casa/

  53. You always pick me up Jenny :). This year I have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and Breast Cancer. My little corner of the world has been so very very dark that at times I have wondered just what is the point. It is at those times that I find myself on your blog and you always make me smile. It is the pick me up I need to will myself to carry on and you remind me to find some meaning in every day , even when it is so dark and frightening.

    Today I have bought bath and body hampers for the woman I go through chemo with. One is a elderly lady with no family – she is fighting the fight alone and this Christmas is the first without her husband of 50 years. The other, like me, is in her twenties and a mother to one. Her partner left her when her cancer was discovered and she has the world on her shoulders. This Christmas they will at least have something to make them smile and they will know somebody cares.

    Thankyou for unwittingly being my light and reminding me to shine that on to others in need.

  54. We donated to The Heifer Project. My daughter, who has Asperger’s, was really touched when she read the brochure and saw how much giving livestock helps! Initially, she wanted to donate a goat which provides milk (which can also be made into cheese). The goat was kinda expensive for her 7-year old pockets, so she and my husband went halfsies for buying a chicken. She contributed $10 of her own money to do this! I’m very proud!

  55. You’ve chosen some great organizations; I’m buying my brother a donated pig, because what says sibling love better than a big porker? Two more good groups- Helen Keller International ( http://www.hki.org/ ) gives glasses to school kids that need them, among other things; Reading Is Fundamental ( http://www.rif.org/ ) gives books to low income children in the US.
    And don’t forget, to always, always, always check out a charity through someplace like Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org/) before you donate.

  56. Jenny you are amazing!!
    My husband and I donate to Toys for Tots every year, when we can. This year I’m donating a few hours in the kitchen baking cookies for the single sailors/marines/airmen that didn’t take leave and are far from home. I’m making close to 6 dozen cookies plus planning a meal for the guys working on Christmas Day. My husband is a Military Police officer, so holidays off are not always in the cards for him and his co-workers, I usually send in a pot of chili for all the shift to enjoy.

  57. There are two charities I would really, really, REALLY like to ask people to help.

    One is local to me (Bryan/College Station, TX) and could use any help it could get. That’d be God’s Little Creatures dog rescue. They helped (and by helped, I mean basically made happen) my adopted dog keep her leg after she’d been shot (her story here: http://helpsavepenny.blogspot.com/). They do the same and so much more for SO many dogs, and it’s run by one angel, many volunteers, and more love than you’d think could be possible. They are a no-kill shelter and accept donations by mail at the moment, until we can get them up a paypal button or something like it. They have a facebook, and their petfinder page with mailing address is here: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX697.html I can’t express how much I wish I could help her more. She’s helped me put food in the bellies of foster kittens and vet care that otherwise would have died the day I rescued them, and without her, my best friend in the world would have three legs instead of four. I’ve worked with a lot of animal rescues and they could all use help, but none has inspired me more than Della at GLC. If you have a spare bag of dog food, beds, or five bucks, I promise her fuzzies can use it. Plus they’re nonprofit, so tax stuff and whatnot on your donations.

    Then there’s Mercy Corps, which is a really great international charity that is present not only on the frontlines during major crises but in struggling communities all over the world that need help building up stable, lasting, and healthy economies and care. What I really appreciate about them is that they stick around. My husband and I recently got married (couple of weeks ago) and we asked our guests to consider donating to these two charities, and Mercy Corps was his choice. Unfortunately, that’s not quite how things went (weddings are never predictable are they…?), so this is our Christmas wish, too. We personally don’t have much to give, but give whenever we can – and believe me, even a couple of bucks makes a gigantic difference.

    P.S. – Jenny, you are amazing. We will pull something together by Christmas, as much as we can (9 foster kitten mouths to feed, jeez, I’ll never be rich!) and try to hit up all your mentioned charities if we can!! 🙂

  58. Love project night night, and will donate this year in your name! for those in the rocky mountain area, please consider onating cash to the Food Bank of the Rockies http://www.foodbankrockies.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Donate_Funds
    I met the corporae donations guru on the street last year..I NEVER talk to fools on the street asking for directions! This was kismet, and I learned from him that cash is better than canned food. With their buying power (fueled by donations) they can get 4 meals for $4! They donate dry foods to families and their pets – most people who are on the brink of homelessleness chose their pets over themselves. Donating pet lovers can be assured their gift hepls our furry friends, too!!

  59. I was one of the lucky ones helped last year. We’re even luckier in that we don’t really need help this year.

    My fidyah’s going to World Food Programme to help with the famine in Somalia — http://www.wfp.org/

    They also run http://freerice.com/, where just by playing a word game you’re donating to WFP! It’s an awesome option for people who can’t afford to donate monetarily.

  60. Hi Jenny. My family is in need of help this year and so I went to WishUponAHero to register. You have to provide them with copies of your utility bills so that they can verify you. Completely understandable and no problem for me, I have plenty of pink ones I can send them, except it says in bold that due to high demand it takes them at least 30 days to do the verification. So it won’t work for those of us needing help before then unless they have previously registered. Just thought you would like to know. Ashley

    (I think it can take up to 30 days to verify if there are issues but the three people I’ve helped today all became members today and had their wishes posted today. My advice is to go ahead and try. People still go to WishUponAHero even after the holidays. Good luck to you! ~ Jenny, Bloggess)

  61. Jenny and fantastic readers, I run a nonprofit called The Small Things working with Nkoaranga orphanage in Tanzania – 30 of the most incredible, inspiring, gorgeous kids you could ever hope to meet, from newborns to five years. We run programs to give them water, to filter that water, to improve the kids’ nutrition through vitamin supplementation and help prevent some of the rickets and other effects of previous malnutrition some of them suffer, we’re hiring more staff to help care for them because right now it’s usually two on staff at any given time: one cooking, cleaning, and washing all the clothes, often without the benefit of electricity, while a second watches all thirty children. We help send them to excellent schools so that they won’t end up in the same cycles of poverty that led to most of them ending up in the orphanage to begin with.

    We need help. We need sponsors for the children to attend school – we need donations for hiring staff, we need help to put in solar panels so that when the power is out for days at a time, the kids don’t spend the nights terrified or in danger from candles (there was already a terrible fire a few years ago). We need help providing extra care for the premature babies who arrive, like Peace right now, who at two months is only just hitting seven pounds. Like Reziki, who would have been a year old last week, but who passed away because we couldn’t save him. We need help to get care for children like Pendo, who have been abused, and Abdulli, who has learning disabilities, and Simoni and Zawadi, who suffer from rickets, and all the other incredible children, who deserve someone to listen to them and love them.

    These are gorgeous, happy, and mostly healthy children – this is a place of joy, of love, of family. We need help to keep it that way, and to make it better. Please, please consider taking a look at our site, and donating in honor of a loved one this year.

    To meet the kids: http://www.thesmallthings.org/p/photo-gallery.html
    To learn how to help: http://www.thesmallthings.org/p/how-to-help.html

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart, from all of us in The Small Things and most importantly, the Nkoaranga kids

    PS: I’m back with them in seven days – I’ve been counting down for months, and I couldn’t be more excited. These are the loves of my life. Thank you for taking the time to read, at least!

  62. I have posted on Wish Upon a Hero, a few days before this post. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone felt like reading my post. We hit some bad luck during our move, and Christmas is going to be rough.

  63. I, for one, have always wanted to find a nice way to give back during the holiday season, but have never actually taken the time to find where to donate. As a result of reading your blog, I now know of several options, and as I buy gifts for friends and family, I will also keep a sort of ‘running tab’, and will donate/give at least as much, and hopefully more, to the charitable organizations.

  64. Project Night Night made me sniffle just reading about it. I’m donating a box there, and seeing how man wishes I can grant.

    Thank you for the list!

  65. HoHoHo Jenny.

    And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

    Garfield has good charities.

    But if anyone wants to help Children stuck in Starship Children’s Hospital in New Zealand over the holidays, go here.

  66. *many wishes, not man wishes. Although I suppose some of them may be man wishes, or wishes for men, but I don’t think it’s legal for me to do anything about those.

    It’s 5:30 and I haven’t had my coffee yet. I’ll stop talking now.

  67. If you’re in the UK, you can buy gifts for disadvantaged children through Kids Co. They make a John Lewis gift list each year:

    “Make a child’s dream come true and give a present from our WISH LIST. Please go to http://www.johnlewisgiftlist.com. Click on ‘buy a gift’ and enter our gift list number 484121 to choose a special gift for a child.”

    There’s lots of gifts to choose from, for a variety of prices. They go to kids who might otherwise not get anything.

  68. Jenny, you are a rockstar. and not just because you told me I look like Anais Nin.

    My charity: Reece’s Rainbow. http://www.reecesrainbow.org
    They find families for international special needs orphans. The one boy weighing heavily on my heart is Jack, who is 11 and has HIV. http://nobabynoblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/jack.html

    He said to the director of his orphanage, “what do I need to do for a Mom to come? Do you know where she is? Is she looking for me?”

    Break. My. Heart.

    He really needs a family, and I am doing everything in my power to find him one!

  69. Last year’s Christmas miracle was truly amazing and I agree with the other commenters who say it probably wasn’t repeatable. I love your suggestions and really appreciate the additional suggestions left by your readers. I have a lot of big-hearted friends who I know would like some ideas on where to donate, so I’m going to gather up all of the suggestions and links listed here and post them to Facebook.

    Thank you Jenny and Jenny’s readers for making the holidays a lot more special.

  70. Love you, love the ideas. I’m going to do Project Night Night, but reserve the right to do the others as well. Because I’m terrible at making decisions and all these are such good ideas. I love what you do for your parents!

  71. Thank you for doing this. We’re just getting ready to pick our yearly charity with your 8 year old and #1 is right up her alley.

    I have to admit though #5 makes me feel like I work for you since that’s exactly what my old company would do instead of sending anything to valued partners.

  72. Can I suggest another option? Make a donation to an animal shelter or rescue group. I am not exactly rolling in $$ right now, but every Christmas I send a check to MEOW Cat Rescue in Seattle, WA — the wonderful people who rescued and cared for my two boys, Dudley and Clancy, until I could bring them to their forever home. In the past few years many shelters have been overwhelmed by pets being surrendered by people who can no longer afford to keep them due to bankruptcies, foreclosures, etc. They need all the help they can get… and if you can find it in your heart to give a forever home to an animal in need this Christmas, please consider doing so.

  73. First of all, I just want to say I love you. I think you are an inspiration.
    Second, my sisters and I also stopped getting each other gifts about 10 years ago. Each year, I take my children shopping for Toys for Tots, then put the receipt in a Christmas card for each of my sisters.
    Last, I love the Wish Upon a Hero idea! I’ve never heard of it before, so I just checked it out. Some of the posts are heartbreaking and I’ve already seen several in my area that I want to help. Money is tight here too because we have four children, but we always have clothes that have been outgrown or toys that aren’t being played with anymore. I usually take that stuff to Goodwill, but this year I am giving it to needy families instead.
    Thank you for the wonderful idea!

  74. Are any of these charities available for people outside of the States? If not, does anyone know about European equivalents?

  75. I bought groceries for a family of 6 and dropped it at their door. I wish we could fucking buy those Project Linus kids shelters or houses or something. Damn. A blanket seems important but … Pathetic. Please tell me we can do better for the babies in this country. Please. I see their beautiful faces everyday. Would break your fucking heart, like it does mine.

  76. I will be donating to Toys for Tots like I do every year. I wish I could donate to everyone and every charity. 🙁 It’s so great to see people get together to help each other out. Love your blog, thank you so much for posting all this information!
    PS – I was going to ask for a hippopotamus for Christmas (damn but that song is catchy). Now I think I will have to change that to a llama since those are much easier to put in shopping carts.

  77. oh hell yes I just bought several goat asses!!! best. christmas. ever. thanks Jenny – I fucking hated ‘catalog season’ til I bought goats! you rock. xoxo

  78. Thank you! I followed the Project Night Night link and saw there is an Abuse and Rape Crisis center very nearby. Events from my past have led to this being a passion of mine and now I can work with them directly. Thanks for the spark!

  79. Jenny, you are awesome awesome awesome awesome. I am going to do… something, haven’t figured it out yet but when I do I’ll come back and tell you.

    Also? A big part of the awesome, to me, is that you have found a way to make good things happen without putting yourself through the stress of last year, that you are taking care of you in all this, which is really important. You give so much of yourself, I am glad you figured out this year what you can and can not do. Much love to you this holiday season. (And giant chickens.)

  80. and not just part of a llama… a FULL llama!!!! You go, Llama Girl!

    This year, we are doing several kids off the Angel Tree at church. And we’ll probably hit Toys for Tots again because that’s kind of a tradition at my house. It seems that no matter how bad off we feel like we are, we are still doing okay because we make a point of giving to people who are not doing as well as WE are. Kind of makes us feel rich in the things that matter.

  81. I love that people are donating to their passions. My mother is very passionate about international women’s assistance and gave a donation in our name to The Adventure Project which buys stoves for women who were victims of the earthquake and whom are still displaced. They use less fuel and create less toxic smoke. http://theadventureproject.org/splash/
    I haven’t decided where I will be donating this year but I WILL be donating!

  82. You are a wonderful person. Also, I’m going to give a goat via the Heifer sight! Goats are awesome! ((but sort of freaky at the same time (I’m sorry but I can’t get over the sideways cat eyes)). Btw, my first sentence originally corrected ate to are. I’ll call that a Christmas-Blogess miracle (but I corrected it)(I’m sorry). I think I used parentheses wrong. Parentheses looks like it is spelled wrong. Oh well. The Love is headed your way. Also, my cat is docking up a hairball, we obviously need some fiber here.

  83. If you want to support Heifer International, you can do so via Patrick Rothfuss’s ‘Worldbuilders’ fundraiser from now until the end of January. Pat is matching 50% of donations, AND you get the chance to win fabulous books.

    Details here here

  84. Jenny, your post made me cry. In a good way. You are so awesome words cannot properly describe it without the use of much profanity. thank you.

  85. This is great!! I love the sound of Project Night Night. Well — all of the charities/ways to give back, really, but that one sounded especially awesome. Thanks for posting the links! 🙂

  86. There needs to be a book about Llamas in shopping carts. There seems to be a distinct lack of them filling bookshelves. I suggest Llama, Llama Ride O Rama.

    Having been on the other side of a charity during Christmas, I can’t tell you how much it means to have a little help from someone who didn’t even know us. It just made me so happy this year to be able to give back to them!

  87. One flock of chicks and one flock of ducks on their way to where they’re needed. But lordy, the noise they made in the shopping cart!

  88. There are so many ways to help people this time of year. I really love that your readers are so willing to help.
    I always try to give to the Salvation Army (anytime of year, really), and you can donate to them outside your grocery stores AND online. https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/
    I also appreciate the work Wounded Warrior Project does. Getting back on your feet after being injured in war is hard on soldiers and their families. You can help make the holidays easier for them: https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/

    I’m totally impressed and inspired by your readers, oh mighty Bloggess.

  89. This is a great idea, and the perfect follow-up to last year’s accidental miracle! This year my charity dollars are going to Living Water International (http://www.water.cc), a Houston-based organization that works around the world to drill and repair water wells. Around 5,000 children die each year from diseases caused by a lack of clean water, and just $1 can help one person have clean water for a year so even a small donation can gave a huge impact. Living Water has gift cards that you can buy and give, and the recipient can go online and choose which well project they’d like to support with their gift card.

  90. There’s a blogger friend who’s doing a Blogger Toys for Tots Fundraising Drive again this year and I hear she’s low on donations…or at least lower than years past. She takes all of the donated money from fellow bloggers and does an amazing job getting as much bang for her buck as possible when getting toys. She then donates them to the Toys For Tots down in Dallas I think it is. http://amorouschick.blogspot.com/p/toys-for-tots.html

    I absolutely love the idea of buying a share of an animal in someone’s honor. I’d totally buy part of a pig in honor of a few family members.

  91. I soo love you and thanks for posting this, I’ve been looking for a place to donate to this year and project night night seems perfect. Thanks 🙂

  92. I donated to Project Night Night. I also posted the link to my Facebook page so I am not sure how many will actually get donated because of you but there will be some. So add another 1+ to your count. Just curious though, how did it feel to have your heart grow three sizes? 🙂

  93. Jenny, how can anyone live with a heart that big?

    It’s Project Night Night and a Wish Upon a Hero for us this year because I sense that’s what James Garfield would want. We also usually donate a gift to seniors on the Pine Ridge Reservation because it seems like the least descendants of Europeans can do after, ya know, stealing the country and all.

    xo

  94. Telling Dad has the Sweet Dreams fund which supports women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. Funds donated purchase new pillows, pillowcases, plush bears, crayons, and coloring books in bulk which are then donated to an increasing number of domestic violence shelters.

    When women and older children arrive at the shelter, they will be given a fresh, clean pillow and a pillowcase. Younger children will also receive a soft plush teddy bear, a coloring book, and a box of crayons just for them. Best of all, they get to take these items with them when they leave.

    http://www.tellingdad.com/sweet-dreams-fund/

  95. Ok, so you are totally awesome and really, really funny. Someone “shared” your James Garfield post on Facebook and that is how I discovered you. I wanted to share this since you mentioned Wish Upon a Hero. I took a young mom up on her wish a few years ago and we have stayed in touch. Her name is Amber and she has a son my son’s age. This year she told me that she can not afford Christmas and she is supporting herself, her son and her mom and also that she can not find work. So I emailed a lot of friends and we are getting a package together for her. The internet and Facebook are so cool since this would not have happened without either of them. I live in Pennsylvania and Amber lives in Washington state, and I am really happy that I met her through Wish Upon a Hero and have stayed in touch through FB and that I can continue to help her. And of course FB led me to find your blog…which truly made me smile this morning!

  96. Holy Shit! You are the second person that I personally know (well, not really you, but whatever) who has purchased a llama this season. My very dear friend (and daughter’s doc…) just bought one…personally, I would opt for the water buffalo…one can dream.

  97. First off, websites shouldn’t sell Llamas for $150, because thats dangerously close to making me buy a farm of llamas. Careful, they spit. I just spent $500 on Toys for Tots. And another $500 on Network for Good, to help prevent suicides on one of the biggest days of the year for them.

  98. You rock. I love reading your blog out loud to my husband. Makes me seem just a tad more sane than he thought. Because you help me, I helped Project Night Night.

  99. Love, love, love this post. Project Night, Night really caught my fancy, that’s where my donation this year is going.

  100. Another fantastic way to give is Kiva.org. It allows you to help partially fund a loan to an individual who has applied for one to start a small business or purchase things needed to continue one. You get updates from the local loan agent on how your money is helping and over the agreed-upon term, your money is paid back to your account 99% of the time. I love this because my same $25 can go to help multiple people over time and I love that it’s helping people set up something that will continue to sustain them and their families. You can also purchase Kiva gift cards to encourage others to begin helping out as well. 🙂

  101. I thank you and your torso for making me laugh because I was tearing up not very far into this blog entry, dear Bloggess. Thank you for the llama, too. And everything else.

  102. Thanks for the ideas! Now I know what to get my dad, a man who needs absolutely nothing. Giving a pile of presents to Toys for Tots is perfect!

  103. http://www.wishuponahero.com/wishes/?id=1083433

    Before your post, I hadn’t heard of Wish Upon A Hero. I posted my wish today, and I’m really excited to see if I get any help. I’ll keep you posted about my goal of making science and engineering education (in a public elementary school) a little more colorful and fun!

    (I just tweeted @lego_education to see if they can help with this one as well. ~ Jenny, bloggers)

  104. This is why you and the internet are awesome.

    It’s all too easy to say, ‘the world’s an effed up place’, and shrug your shoulders, because who can fix the entire freaking world? How wonderful that you’re rallying everyone to try, with goat asses, no less.

    My mom works in a state run nursing home. The residents pretty much have nothing. But last year she got a ‘gift list’ from all her seniors and sent it to local businesses. Every item on those lists were donated by the community, and her residents received stuff they desperately needed. Charity rocks!

  105. I love stumbling across new organizations and efforts like Project Night Night and Wish Upon a Hero (already knew about The Heifer Project!). If anyone is in or near the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area – or just simply wants to help an amazing organization in that region! – Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky (www.chnk.org) serves over 700 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families each year. I’ve made several donations to CHNK over the past year. 🙂

  106. I donate to a local organization called Beverly Bootstraps here in Beverly, MA (http://beverlybootstraps.org/). They are a wonderful organization. They run a food bank, a thrift store, have a large number of community outreach programs like financial literacy programs, GED classes, after school homework help and lots of other wonderful programs. Their motto is “a hand up, not a hand out” and that is something I firmly believe in. I had so many great opportunities in my life so I think it is my duty to help others who are trying to make their lives better. I’m hoping to reach a point in my career where I can slow down some and volunteer with their organization, but for now my monetary contributions will have to do.

  107. I’m donating $250 to Oxfam. I started doing this monthly when I read Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save. Singer says we should all be more public about giving so that people feel like it is normal and are more inspired to do it themselves. Thank you for sharing what you are doing everyone! It makes a difference!

  108. There is a website called iGive.com which allows you to give a percentage of any online purchase you make to the charity of your choice. All you have to do is download a button to be put on your web browser (it’s really small for those worrying about clutter). I just downloaded it today and so far so good. Thought some others should know about it since it makes donating so easy.

  109. You are crazy brilliant, generous and I bet you fuck like a champ.
    I want to Captain Kirk you all over your enterprise in exchange for amazing travel deals.
    Lustfully Yours,
    Will Shatner

  110. I was just asking Karen Walrond about this yesterday… frightening how our minds seem to meld. Thanks Jenny for your heart and for keeping all your limbs last year and this. You need them to type. Also, to lift booze to your lips.

    thanks again,
    kait who used to be in ME and is now in DC

  111. I used to volunteer for a youth organization that raises money and stuff for a different project every year. A couple of years ago it was Project Night Night. That is SUCH a great organization. It makes me sad that we need things like this here in the United States, but we do and I’m glad it’s there.

  112. Jenny you are awesome! I would like to draw your attention to one cause that, by it’s very nature, is often overlooked – your local women’s shelter. I know, most of us can’t afford to sponsor a family or buy tons of gifts for complete strangers, especially at this time of year. But if you are clearing your own or your kids’ toys, books, clothing, etc for incoming Christmas gifts, if you are buying new furniture, linens, pots and pans, lamps, anything a woman might need when starting with nothing, please consider donating.
    If you want to do something extra, a few small ideas (that would be appreciated all during the year) would be a tool kit (hammer, nails, tape, batteries, flashlight, etc), cleaning kit (mop, broom, laundry basket, dustpan, dishcloths, cleaners, etc), kitchen basics (coffee, tea, sugar, tinned milk, dish soap, plastic wrap, etc). These type of kits can be put together very cheaply at a dollar store and make a great thing to do with your kids to raise their awareness/get them involved too. Other nice treats (and these women and kids do deserve them!) could be movie passes, bus passes, gift cards for fast food, grocery stores, thrift stores,rec centers, hair salons, or pre-paid cell phones.
    Please help me show these brave women and children that they are not alone (it matters more than you think) and that we as a society support them in ending the cycle of abuse. Thanks and Merry Christmas.
    Jen

  113. I feel foolish even responding to this post, since you are some kind of blogging legend and there’s not a goddman thing I can say that hasn’t already been said by one of your legions of adoring fans. But I like that you used this post to get people to do something to make this sorry ass world maybe a mite less sorry ass. Like buying llamas. Or parts of llamas. A couple years ago, a friend of mine bought half a cow for her granddaughters. They weren’t happy with cow body parts instead of designer crap, but they kept their mouths shut. I’m a big fan of micro financing. I loan to Kiva throughout the year. And I give a portion of all my book sales to Equality Now, an organization that works to end violence against women and children around the world.

  114. Dear Bloggess: It all started with a big metal chicken…
    You have made me laugh until I cried and for that, I am buying a chicken in your honor. Tell Victor not to worry, I am NOT sending it to you so it is safe to open the front door.

  115. Another bonus of The Heifer Project: You can get a share of a donkey. So I’ll be getting my dad a piece of ass this Christmas. Now that’s merry!

  116. You’ve inspired me to donate to Project Night Night on behalf of both of my kids. Thank you!

  117. I’ve donated to http://www.childsplaycharity.org/ as I do typically every year. They organize donations for children in various hospitals around the world. Its fairly easy to help out as they link to the Amazon wishlists of the hospitals and what you purchase is directly shipped to them.

  118. Jenny – awesome idea and I love that your first charity is for homeless children. Horizons for Homeless Children provides early childhood education and daycare for homeless children 2 months old-6 years old in Massachusetts, as well as kid-friendly play areas in every homeless shelter in Massachusetts!

  119. I love Heifer… The grownups (nominal and actual) on my gift list get shares of an ox, a llama, or bees. Goodness knows my hoarder mother doesn’t need more crap, and it is lovely to help people in need.

    Xo

  120. Hi Jenny.

    This year has been so hard for so many. I’ve been so blessed in my life, I never thought I would be one of those people worrying about paying the mortgage and getting Christmas for my kids. But I am. We’re going to make it, we’re so much better off – even still – than so many others are. But these hard times mean that we can’t help others out as we usually do this time of year. My kids’ school sponsors a homeless shelter every year and makes sure every child in the shelter receives a Christmas gift. I couldn’t sign up to help this year, and was feeling so bad about it. My depression flared, and have been having panic attacks to the point I have barely been able to function.

    Then I read this post, and all the comments. While I can’t help a lot of the charities this year, I have bookmarked them for the future. And I realized that I may not have extra cash available, but I DO have a metric ton of nearly new kids clothes, toys and books that have been outgrown. So I will be boxing those up to take to my local women’s shelter this week. I CAN still help out despite everything, and a lot of the clutter that contributes to my depression will be gone.

    You were wondering how often we help people without knowing it. Well you helped me, and I wanted you to know it.

    Bless You Jenny.

  121. I’m not sure if it exists outside of Utah, but here we have this thing called “The Angel Tree” and it has ornaments hanging on it with a child and what the child wants/needs for Christmas. It’s a really easy way to help because you just grab one or two or ten and get them what they have on their ornament, then take it back to where the tree is and hand it in. They take the time to hand the gifts out. So if anyone in Utah wants to make someone’s Christmas, that’s a pretty easy way.

    Jenny, you’re awesome. Merry Christmas!

  122. I second the recommendation for Kiva! It’s an especially good “in the name of” donation if you have any conservative/libertarians on your Christmas list. After all, you’re not just “furthering a welfare state” (like you are if you just give charitably with no strings attached?), but giving loans to people who are trying to start small businesses in developing countries. We’ve taken to giving Kiva gift certificates for those hard-to-buy-for Midwesterners on our list and letting them loan and manage the money to the folks they like best on Kiva.org.

    The best part? Once the loan is repaid, they can loan it out again. Or, if they’re selfish, take the money back and do something entirely different with it. Like buy new hunting gear.

  123. Holy cow! I am brand and communications director at Heifer International and I have followed your blog for some time, but never have I been as touched as today (well, excepting your Christmas miracle story last year), by your suggestion to your readers to give a living gift through Heifer International. That you bought a llama is truly mind-blowing! Thank you so very much from everyone at Heifer International, but more, thank you from the family that you will help and the families that they, in turn, will help. There could be no greater Christmas gift than the one you just gave to us and to the families we serve … Thank you!

  124. Thank you Jenny for putting this together again this year. The 5 Miracle options are all great, James Garfield will be so proud. I really love the Toys for Tots as a parent gift, as we always donate to toys for tots, and parents are so damn hard to shop for. You’ve inspired me to buy a whole lot of extra toys this year, and roll it into gifts for both of our sets of parents!

    You are the best! A miracle organizer AND a Christmas gift time saver!

  125. You are awesome Jenny. Another one I would suggest is http://www.kiva.org
    You can make a loan of as little as $25 to help someone towards their goal loan. The money gets repaid and then you can loan it again!! I spent years as a single mother struggling to raise two children. On Kiva I usually look for single mothers who are trying to make a better life for themselves. Think its rough in Canada or the US, try being a single mother in Peru or Nigeria.

  126. I discovered you about this time last year. I though you and your clan were awesome! I think you are even more awesome since you are smart enough to know when to say no! and yet can still spread joy.

    Thanks for a year of wonderfully bazaar.

  127. These are really amazing ideas. Love them all. In the past, I’ve bought a share of a sheep from Heifer, along with a sheep stuffed animal for young kids in my family. That way they get something they understand completely (toys!) and we can talk a little about people that don’t have much at all.

    One of my favorite charities is Charity Water. 100% of each dollar raised funds water project costs in developing countries.

  128. One llama, one sheep, one water buffalo, a flock of chickens and some ducks. Ho. Ho. Ho. And a Giant Metal Chicken, if I can find one.

  129. What a great idea to donate in people’s names. Because I know my parents don’t need another Red Lobster gift card.

    Gah you’re awesome. Love it.

  130. I like to be sure to give to the Salvation Army bell ringers…I mean, how big of an asshole would you be to talk out of a Target with your shopping cart brimming with shiny new packages and then not put a few, or more, dollars in the bucket? It’s a good charity. But the one I just love, and can promise you from first hand experience will bring lasting joy to a child and their family during a very difficult time is The Make A Wish Foundation. THEY. ARE. AWESOME! My daughter is currently in the process of being granted a wish and the wish is for a seizure therapy dog! Here is the link:
    http://www.wish.org/

  131. I love this post!

    Every year my husband and I take the 200 bucks we were going to spend on each other and go buy a shitton of turkeys. We like to donate them to the food bank, but the best part is rolling up in our little sedan with 100 turkeys in our trunk 🙂
    We also donate to Toys for Tots in memory of my Gramms, Marion, who always donated but passed away three years ago due to lung cancer.
    I have heard of Project Night Night twice this morning and I haven’t even put a bra on yet. I am definitely looking into it!

  132. For anyone out there who’s crafty, i also recommend Project Links, who accept donations of security blankets to give to kids in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies and “anywhere that a child might be in need of a big hug”.

  133. Yesterday, my son received a new globe/piggy bank (worldy bank? earthy bank? globey bank?) for Christmas and some cash. Some he saved, and some he used to buy a toy to donate. So I suppose my six-year-old and his great-aunt donated to Toys for Tots.

  134. I for one would like to see an actual llama in an actual shopping cart. I mean, come one. I think we can all agree that that would be awesome.

    I think this is the perfect solution to the problem of you turning into a one woman charity organizer – too much for anyone. There are tons of charities out there that need help and I love your list here. Good for you.

  135. I bought part of a goat! I feel awesome. I might or might not have teared up as I did so. I blame my period. I’m a girl, I can do that, right?

  136. hey sister go sister go sister go sister, gotta give some soul sister… those are some good ideas and shall help you avoid getting sick, i esp like the one that ‘requires some trust’… i also like how you never ‘go crazy’ about being online so much, all the time i’ve been reading you, you have never broken form or had a meltdown about haters, you’ve just been good clean fun for all of us… i’m proud of you all around, and would prefer if you kept your limbs… xoxoxox

  137. My kids decided to give their present-hating husband gifts from the Oxfam Catalog this year. This is somewhat like the Heifer Project catalog, but there are several things that make Oxfam extra cool:

    1. You can give someone shit, worms, or crabs. And if you search “coal” on their site they suggest an energy-efficient stove.
    2. My young kid chose a dozen chicks and when I printed the gift card to go with it, the picture showed a big bantam rooster with the caption, “I bought you this season’s ‘it’ gift,” which I TOTALLY think is a subtle reference to Beyonce.

  138. My kids decided to give their present-hating FATHER (MY present-hating husband, gah, this is what comes of posting comments on 4 hours’ sleep) gifts from the Oxfam Catalog this year. This is somewhat like the Heifer Project catalog, but there are several things that make Oxfam extra cool:

    1. You can give someone shit, worms, or crabs. And if you search “coal” on their site they suggest an energy-efficient stove.
    2. My young kid chose a dozen chicks and when I printed the gift card to go with it, the picture showed a big bantam rooster with the caption, “I bought you this season’s ‘it’ gift,” which I TOTALLY think is a subtle reference to Beyonce.

  139. My new favorite is Nowzad (http://www.nowzad.com/). They help rescue animals. Specifically, they help soldiers who are deployed rescue the pets they adopt WHILE they’re deployed, usually strays on whatever shithole base they’re stuck on. My husband did this and we’re waiting for the dog to be able to fly home to me (he’s still in Afghanistan). We did our own fundraising so we didn’t have to ask Nowzad for help, but they do offer funding. Right now they’re so full of dogs and cats waiting for enough funds to be raised to send them home that they can’t take any more, so many military people are having to watch their pets starve or be euthanized because U.S. military, at least, prohibits mascots or pets while deployed (officially, thought some commands will let it go for a while).

  140. Great ideas! Don’t forget about homeless animals! Shelters can always use old blankets, towels, food donations, etc. Giving directly to a shelter also guarantees that 100% of your donation helps animals, not pays someone’s salary.

  141. We always donate to Toys for Tots but I’d never heard of Project Night Night. We’ll donate there this year too. And I’ll buy a goat in Hubby’s name. He’ll love that more than the gloves I was going to get. Thanks for linking us up!

  142. You make me furiously happy, Jenny. Not even kidding – I find, on a regular basis, that my faith in humanity is restored when I see regular people doing extraordinary things.
    If any of you, like me, are wary about online donations and things of that sort: I have a solution. Go to your local grocery store (we have a King Soopers near us). They’ll have a Christmas Tree with a bunch of names on it and wishes for presents. These names are children – real children in your area, who probably will have a shitty Christmas. Take a name. Buy a present. Bring back the gift and name back to the store. And just like that, a good deed is done.
    I’m inspired. I’m gonna blog right now about this, and why it’s important to me. Thanks, Jenny. You’re amazing.

  143. I have been helping shelter pets @santapawsdrive. They donate toys,food,and money to shelters all over the world. This is a cause near to my heart, I have several cats who have been adopted through the years. Please help if you can.

  144. Buying farm animals is awesome, but this year I’m hoping Santa buys me an orphan. The people that run this Cambodian orphanage are awesome and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to buy some orphans?! You don’t get to keep your orphans (or dress them up like urchins in a Dickens novel) but you can email them every day and tell them that you love them and that they are beautiful and good and deserve good things and a good life.
    http://eglobalfamily.org/
    http://www.flo-cambodia.org/

  145. Add one more to Project night night. Inspiring and funny you are- now tell me where to get updated on Nathan Fillion harassment please.

  146. I’m buying 3 Project Night Night bags in the name of my kids. They certainly can live without another $20 gift, and it’s good to teach them to appreciate everything they have

  147. Please consider donating to the Limbs for Life
    http://www.limbsforlife.org
    The Limbs for Life Foundation is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to providing fully functional prosthetic care for individuals who cannot otherwise afford it and raising awareness of the challenges facing amputees.

    My husband is an amputee and we can both tell you that a prosthetic is EXPENSIVE. We could never afford the $50,000 it costs for a prosthetic leg (we are talking a pole with a foot for my husband, nothing fancy) or for the constant doctors visits he needs if it was not for the generosity of others.

  148. Last weekend, we actually donated quite a bit to Toys For Tots and this weekend, we donated a cow. Because it’s kind of awesome that we can donate livestock.

  149. I always get donation requests from those holiday trees in the mall, and try to pick the most unlikely ones – the 19 year old who wants a hoodie or something. You know, the ones that remain. Then I “give” these donations to family members instead of giving them useless socks, or camels, or cigarettes.

    (just kidding. A camel is never useless.)

  150. I am off to post the link for the Hero Wish at a place where I know two people who really need help. I hope it works out for them. I thought it would be fun to quit my job in crappy economy and find myself, or lose my anxiety disorder or start a website or something to this is a tight year for me, but now I feel like I can still do something to help!

    Merry Christmas to all y’all!

  151. I am shamelessly plugging you on facebook as always . Because you are awsome and charitable in you own dead stuffed animal giant chicken kinda way. And we certainly dont want you to make yourself ill yet again. Pugs n hisses -amy

  152. Hey, you have inspired me to do something on behalf of Gerardo De la Fuente, the older brother of one of my former students, Raul De la Fuente. Gerardo is in need of a bone marrow transplant and his family has no insurance. I have a storefront on Amazon.com, and I have uploaded several signed books by some of my author friends, as well as 3 signed copies each of my books, Courage in Patience and Hope in Patience. Here’s the link- all money raised from the sale of the items in my storefront will go straight to Gerardo’s medical bills. I’ll cover the postage costs myself. http://www.amazon.com/gp/shops/storefront/index.html?ie=UTF8&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&sellerID=A24KWSQCYWXJ6M

  153. Hi Jenny (and fellow readers of The Bloggess),
    Great idea to continue the giving without putting yourself at risk. For the past couple of years, my Dad has asked me not to send him anything, but instead make a donation in his name that would benefit kids. We donate to Christmas House (http://www.christmas-house.org/ ) a local charity near Everett, WA that collects donations of toys then allows low-income families to shop for free gifts for their kids.

    In honor of all the laughs you’ve given me this year, and the fact that — while we’re not doing great, we’re still managing to stay afloat — I’m buying one of the Night -Night bags for a homeless kid.

    Best wishes for a happy holiday to your family, Rene

  154. I think I got just the right amount of charity and humility from you…I think I’ll go buy some humble pie and check out those charities. But please don’t get too stressed out about this. No one wants “Boxing Jenny”.

  155. Some years we loaded up the car with kick ass toys for the whole family to deliver to Toys for Tots – including the dog 🙂 Other years we adopted a needy family and filled their wish list. This year I convinced my husband to get up at way too early on a Saturday (read before noon) to pack Christmas gift baskets for the less fortunate. This year is going to be a challenge because I’m supposed to be nice and charitable very early in the morning with very little coffee in my system but they promised us doughnuts so I’m hoping the sugar will help me be peppy in a small town that STILL doesn’t understand my hypenated name (“so modern!”) after 14 years of marriage because it’s for the children. And doughnuts. FREE doughnuts.

  156. First of all, I see your Nathan Fillion obsession and raise you a restraining order. In fact, if you google ‘Stalking Nathan Fillion’ the first hit is a link to my blog. . .I’m just sayin’.

    Secondly, every year on their birthday and at Christmas my twin boys and I go to the Children’s Hospital NICU where they spent the first 3 months of their fragile lives and bring cookies and gifts to the nurses and parents. It’s a great way to say thank you to the men and women who saved their lives, cheer up the scared and lonely families, and honor their brother Will who never made it home.

  157. I gave someone bees! (I have always wanted bees, so if they don’t like them they can regift them to me). What a great site…

    Thanks for the idea.

  158. I love the idea of “lightly organized good deed doing.” 🙂 My son’s day care center collects donations for The Pajama Project: http://www.pajamaprogram.org/ They collect pajamas and books for children in shelters, foster care, orphanages, etc. Anything that helps children whose families are struggling at Christmas AND teaches my kids that Christmas is supposed to be about more than getting a pile of plastic stuff they will have forgotten about by February is the definition of a win-win.

    PS–I also love the idea of donating the butt end of a goat in the name of the family member who once responded to my “thank you” for a gift with “I buy presents for everyone; even people I don’t like.” 😀

  159. Last year I was one of the people helped. Because of this, my daughter actually had a Christmas. I suck at follow through so as a result I lost that wonderful persons address and email and never got to thank them. I regret that deeply (and I regret almost nothing). So, on the chance that she still reads your blog (pretty high chance), I just wanted to say THANK YOU to the woman who gave a gift of the princess tutu from her Etsy shop and all of the other gifts. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. You made my daughters Christmas. And I’m sorry I suck at following through (still have yet to send thank you cards from wedding and that was in April >.<).

    This year I was really hoping to be one of the donators, even if you couldn't do "The Boar who Saved X-mas" again this year, but unfortunately, things are even worse off this year. I'm going to spare you all the sobby details BUT I thought you would like to know this. My 4 y/o (same one mentioned from before) turns 5 shortly after Christmas, and we always do a sort of winter cleaning around this time because of all the new stuff she gets. Well normally, we give the stuff to Goodwill just so it's gone but this year, she specifically asked if there were other people with no money that could have it. Her exact words were "I want somebody to have a Christmas." So with her help and even her encouragement, we have given away more then half of her toys to either charities that accepted used toys or friends who are in just as tight of a spot. Its no where near the generosity of last year but I feel proud of my lil Lily, thinking after all of this, I MUST have done something right. Even now, Lily still comes out with toys saying "This should be for Sammy. She doesn't have one." or "Hannah played with this last time, can we give it to her?", about toys I KNOW she still wants and plays with. If it was up to her, she would have given all of her toys away.

    Anyway, I ramble, sorry. Long story short, I just thought you'd like a mini Christmas story. Thank you Jenny for taking Christmas's that would be bad and turning them in to something amazing.

  160. This is some extreme awesomeness. Your karma can is going to be so full that you can carte blanche metal chicken whomever you want-yeaaa!

  161. This is an awesome post, thank you for doing it. I recently did a post on gift giving that included buying charity gift cards ( https://www.justgive.org/index.jsp and http://www.tisbest.org/Default.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1) for people who have enough “stuff”. They can then donate to the charity of their choice.

    Along with a donation to a local charity, I’m also donating to PlanCanada (part of Plan International) this year. I have their catalogue and most of their gifts are matched with a donation from a government foundation or organizational partner. For example, 3 baby chicks for $15 becomes $45 and a goat for $75 becomes $525. Which means more asses in honour of the ass in your life.

  162. I’m planning on donating to arts organizations that support local artists, because I’m really inspired by art and I’m learning to draw and paint, and I’m pissed off that I don’t have more time to practice. I want other artists to have more time to devote to their craft, so I’m contributing to the cause. And since I was planning to donate to the James Garfield Holiday charity drive, I now have some other choices to make. I’ve donated to Heifer before, but I like the other ideas too. Then again, contributing an animal’s ass in honor of someone you’re not fond of sounds like a great idea. Rick Perry comes to mind, or maybe Newt Gingrich. It’s like win-win for everyone. Except maybe for humorless conservatives.

    BTW, Jenny, I just wanted to thank you for all you’ve done for this community, both with your humor and your good heart. You are truly an inspiration, both in the humor and good heartedness camps. Thanks for being you and have a great holiday!

  163. We all clean our closets around this time of year and the local animal shelters love getting those stained clothes, towels, blankets and whatnots. I also pick up a bag of dog and cat food on the way to drop them off as a thanks for taking this junk off my hands gift for them. Also any old tupperware w/o lids or bowls and such they love that kind of thing too!

    I take my kids to serve at the soup kitchen AFTER christmas because they are normally booked before but never after. We bring canned foods and other non refridgerated goods with us that we gather from friends and family before going to help stock the pantry. Sometimes the best things are given after the holidays.

  164. i’ve been “giving” heifer gifts for the last 7 or 8 years. there are only adults in my family, and none of them need or want anything, so i buy bees and llamas and trees in their name. they love it, i love it, everyone is happy. you’re awesome for promoting heifer! 🙂 (and just plain awesome anyway!)

  165. If you like kids, and you think that actually teaching kids is a good thing, check out donorschoose.org. You get to pick a classroom and a teacher and help them with a project. I’ve helped about 10 teachers now get their wish for something that would be really useful in their class — like books, or a reading carpet, or science supplies. And the really cool part…this isn’t just a Christmas/Hannukah thing, it’s an all year thing, so it’s like 365 (& 1 more on leap years) times better. And the even cooler part…Oprah and Stephen love it. So even though Stephen stole one of Jenny’s ears, he’s not a bad person. Rly. Go help kids, y’all, however you want to. You’ll feel better.

  166. I just donated $20 to Project Night Night. This year has been difficult for my daughter and I, for so many reasons. I feel that continuing to give teaches her that no matter what we go through, we need to remain strong and dedicated to helping those who are not as fortunate as us. We are helping a very good organization through volunteering to adopt families at the office and then this is something that we can do outside of the office. Thank you!

  167. My aunt & I have started shopping for seniors, buying socks, blankets, large print books, word searches, etc. Some folks don’t have family & we like for them to be able to open something for Christmas.

  168. This is awesome. I have more aunts than any one person could count. If I could afford to buy them all a share of goats’ asses the world would be a better place.

  169. Also, consider giving gifts of certificates to KIVA. http://www.kiva.org/ My coworker gave me a 25.00 certificate for my birthday last Thursday. It could not have been a better present. In this day when there is so much sorrow, I was cheered by being able to give instead.

  170. Bloggess, you amaze me. My husband and I decided that we are going to be getting divorced this year, and we have 3 amazing little men (10 years, 3 years and 18 months). Things are tight, I’m looking for a job (at this point, I’m going to start hitting the fast food places, because a shoe string is only so long). But I know that even if my kids don’t get a Christmas this year, they will be warm and fed and sleep soundly in their beds. So it will be okay. Things could be so much worse. I just want to say that you and the people like you have made and continue to make miracles happen, and those that are the receivers of those miracles are so very grateful. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for helping others be that way too. xoxo

  171. Donating to Toys for Tots, our local food bank and picking three children off of our local “giving” tree to buy presents for. Thank you for all that you do!

  172. Excellent, as always, Jenny. I work with an amazing nonprofit group called CLiF The Children’s Literacy Foundation. They donate thousands of dollars of new books to poor children and rural libraries, they send authors and illustrators to under-funded schools, and they build libraries in prisons for kids visiting their incarcerated parents. Like so many similar non-profits, they are amazing and every penny counts. Thanks! http://clifonline.org/

  173. Another idea, which has probably been given already, is to pack up all the clothes, kitchen ware, house items, furniture, food, baby supplies, electronics and whatever else to a local charity. Like Salvation Army, Goodwill and here we have the Good Shepard Mission who will take all of these items and give them to the needy. If nothing else you have lessened what you have so someone could have more. Giving to others what I don’t use and don’t need to hoard is a good feeling!

  174. Thank you Jenny for your link to WIsh Upon a Hero. I did not think I would need assistance this year but then my car decided to quit on me and of course it was after all the deadlines for xmas help. So I was left trying to decide if I should give my kid christmas or put the money towards getting my care fixed. I have posted a wish on Wish Upon a Hero. I would have never found this site if it had not been for you. Now lets just keep our fingers crossed and pray that my wish getss filled. Here is a link to my wish.
    http://www.wishuponahero.com/wishes/?id=1083727

  175. Having just spent Thanksgiving at a rehabilitation center for seniors, I can tell you that holidays are lonely in those places. My mom is home with hospice now & not likely to live until Christmas so we are planning to bring Christmas/whatever to the center. Bells will be ringing, motherfuckers!

    Also consider donation to Share the Spirit– delivering shoes to children in need in the poorest counties in the U.S.A.

  176. Yay, was soo excited to see I ALREADY did Miracle #3, because well Llama’s ARE awesome…and chicks and geese (We bought the Dream Basket which comes with a whole crapload of animals) from the heifer project. Wish we could have given an Ark but alas…

  177. I’m just going to donate a bottle of wine and $20 to the homeless guy who lives at my subway station. Is that OK, or does that make me an asshole?

  178. I go to the bookstore. A lot. So every time I’ve gone, I’ve bought 2 (or 3. or 5!) books to donate to underprivileged kids. Because really, isn’t that how I’m supposed to spend my birthday money?

  179. Awesome post! My family had already decided to give to charity as Xmas gifts this year.

    Did Toys 4 Tots already. Went to Toys R Us with a work friend at lunch time and put that in the collection boxes at work.

    Picked a random animal charity to donate to in memory of my niece who was going to be a vet.

    The other ones we will be giving to are food banks and such – like meals on wheels. Have $400 in matching funds from my company to give away. (Remeber to check with your work and see if they match donations!)

    The food bank links and the random animal charity are in my most recent blog post.

    I like the Night Night one and will have to add that to our list this year. I think my mom would like that one especially.

  180. I have been trying for years to get the family on board the charity idea, but they just refuse it.

    I’ve actually been told that I am selfish for wanting to donate for them, since that isn’t what *THEY* want, an only makes me happy. Pretty sad.

    Even though I am in the dumps financially, we were able to donate a lot last year through you and through our own local food bank.

    IF YOU WANT TO HELP YOUR LOCAL CITY – Call to see what they need at the food bank. We found out ours would take frozen turkeys, so we went to Wal-mart, and spent a small fortune on turkeys and trimmings and staples to donate to the local food bank. What’s Christmas without food?

    We did toys for kids in Ontario, here, too.

    THIS IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT TO ME!!!

    The awkward part? The man in front of us at the check out at Walmart tried to give us $40 towards our donation, but we didn’t feel right taking it, and encouraged him to donate/pay it forward. Everyone left feeling awkward and awful, but we both had the very best intentions.

    i hope he donates somewhere this year.

    Love you Jenny, what you did last year was great.

    I always also donate to the Brant County SPCA, I volunteered there for over 7 years, and they only receive funds from regular people, no government grants, in Ontario Canada. They work thanklessly to help find stray or surrendered animals homes, and it’s a sad place to work. I respect them so very much.

    http://www.brantcountyspca.com/

    *******************MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, From my Grinchy Self!********************

    _________________________________________________

  181. You can buy a gift from http://www.redcross.org/gifts. The American Red Cross responds to something like 60,000 disasters each year. Most of them are single family house fires but most people only know about the large disasters on the news.

  182. There’s this blog that I read that makes my heart just weep because I can’t rush to these people and give them everything I have. The husband has brain cancer and the wife is dealing with health issues of her own, and they are seriously, seriously struggling. These are good people, not a scam. Take a look at the blog and if your heart leads you there, please help them out.
    http://washandtashi.blogspot.com/

  183. Every year I participate in Cakewreck’s 12 days of charity giving. I actually hope I can find someone in my life that would be okay with donating on Christmas rather than spending tons of money on things we don’t need.

    I understand why you’re not doing the James Garfield Christmas Spectacular this year, I’m just sorry I wasn’t a reader last year because I would have loved to help. Once I figure out how much money I can afford to donate this year I am raking through these comments. Bless your heart Jenny for reminding us of these opportunities.

  184. Thank you Jenny. You are truly epic! Money has been tight this year but I figured I could afford 1 or 2 things for my 7 yr old daughter to open for christmas (she has severe lead poisoning which has caused alot of medical issues). My plans changed when the axle on my car (which is 21 years old) broke. As the mechanic was looking at my car he noticed the other other axle was about gone as well. So there goes what little money I had for xmas. Thanks to you I have now posted my wish on Wish upon a hero. My 7 yr old even posted that the most important thing right now is for th car to get fixed so I can get to work and all her doctor appts. So instead of wishing for xmas presents we wished for the car repair money and agreed to make presents to each other instead this year.
    http://www.wishuponahero.com/wishes/?id=1083727

  185. Aww this is a great idea!

    I hate kids, but Project Night Night sounds amazing, I’m gonna donate a bag or two in the name of His Holiness Beyonce.

    Cos Copernicus would just eat the kids’ faces, and noone wants that for Christmas.

    Except maybe Copernicus…

  186. You are so awesome! Thanks for the update on ways to donate. On a side note, the other day while walking my puppy I found a $10.00 bill on the side of the road and picked it up of course. I live in the country so other wise it would get buried in snow. I felt kind of guilty about it so when my daughter was working with her civil rights club at a Christmas Fair yesterday, raising money for the Heifer project, I gave it to her to donate. Phew! My guilt is gone and I hopefully passed on a blessing to some family. But this time they are buying a camel!

  187. And this is just one of the many reasons you are so awesome. My day job holds a raffle every year at our Christmas party for charity and I am taking notes to maybe donate to one of these great causes next year. This year we are donating to Blessings in a Backpack which feeds school children for $80/school year. There are a lot of kids that only eat in school and Blessings in a Backpack sends the children home every weekend with a backpack full of staples they can make over the weekend and the evenings.

  188. This is one of the many reasons I follow you. So, that’s one Night Night package, some bees, and $20 worth of pig (which are clean, smart, friendly, and every piece of them is edible). Bees and pigs are not usually on my gift-giving list, but maybe they should be.

  189. (1) When asked to recreate your accidental miracle, your “first reaction was a resounding, ‘Oh, hell no.'”

    (2) “You people make it difficult to be all hard and grinchy.”

    (3) When asked to spearhead these projects annually, you said, “I think I speak for all of us when I say that that is a terrible idea.”

    I think it is a testament to you that your readers see right past your (pretend) crusty exterior and push forward to do good things for good people for this season of giving. And I know that you’ll be at the center of it in some way. Enjoy the accolades. You deserve them. And please let me know what I can do to help. I hope to be up and running again soon.

  190. You’re amazing for doing this. I remember the post from last year. It was AWESOME. I love your community here and their willingness to help families in need. One of the best in the blogging community.

    I posted a wish on Wish Upon A Hero. My partner, a wounded veteran, has the medical coverage he needs, but not dental. His problems are something that can be fixed, but we don’t have the money for them. It’s unnecessary pain on top of the pain from his injuries. It would be a Christmas miracle if we could get the help we need. Thank you for giving me a place to share.

    http://www.wishuponahero.com/wishes/?id=1083877

  191. (1) When asked to recreate your accidental miracle, your “first reaction was a resounding, ‘Oh, hell no.’”

    (2) “You people make it difficult to be all hard and grinchy.”

    (3) When asked to spearhead these projects annually, you said, “I think I speak for all of us when I say that that is a terrible idea.”

    I think it is a testament to you that your readers see right past your (pretend) crusty exterior and push forward to do good things for good people for this season of giving. And I know that you’ll be at the center of it in some way. Enjoy the accolades. You deserve them. And please let me know what I can do to help. I hope to be up and running again soon.

    Sorry. Comment posted prematurely. In short, thanks for you all you do. Oh, and I’ll take the udder part of your aunt’s goat. I really enjoy a good goat cheese.

  192. One year I donated 2 goats to Africa. I’m assuming it didn’t just go to Africa because those 2 goats would probably have never found a family on their own. Someplace in Africa that I’ve now forgotten. I did it through the AnimalRescuesite.com, which you can click on every day to help animals. All clicks are matched by corporate sponsors. Not the goats, tho. That was a different event.

    If you decide to go back to last year’s plan, which was so popular, I suggest you hire an asst for the Xmas holidays, like Walmart does. A college grad with computer skills and with no rap sheet for stealing would be happy to have a job.

  193. I now have my parents’ Christmas present all lined up. They will LOVE this. And there are about 6 people I could give the ass end of a goat to. I will let you know which one I choose! Thank you for posting this. You remain, most awesome.

  194. Great post. My favorite program is the Salvation Army/JC Penney Giving Tree program. http://angel.jcpenney.com/angeltree/ . It’s a great program that holds a special place in my heart. What’s really neat is that you can choose a child or senior citizen in your area and then go pick out and buy the presents yourself.

  195. I’d like to add my personal favorite online charitable organization to your list: Kiva.org . You put your $25 in with a bunch of other random strangers’, and lend it to people. They pay you back. You help someone, and mostly, it doesn’t cost you a dime. I’ve been recycling the same $100 in loans for several years now. It’s awesome.

  196. My grandmother was Hattie Larlham, in 1961 she started taking children who had severe develomental disabilites into her small farmhouse. From one child, that facility has grown to help thousands. They now have several places for thier “kids” to work, including Hattie’s Cafes all over the state of Ohio. They make wonderful gift baskets with everything from cookies and candies, to crackers and cheeses, that are great gifts.
    Please consider checking them out at http://www.HattieLarlham.org you can read their history, and about what they do now, check out their online store, and help out a wonderful organization while giving some trully yummy gifts.
    Thanks for this amazing opportunity, you’re fucking awesome.

  197. We should donate to all of these in the name of The Bloggess. Or, better yet, imagine how awesome it would be if there were thousands of presents and donations out there with one word on the tag “Wolverines”. Is that 4 or 5 “i”s?

  198. I just wanted to add a note of credibility for The Heifer Project. We had donated to this group for several years through church. About six years ago, I took a wonderful trip to Tanzania and as part of a tour went to a small “cheese farm.” Mama Anna told us she had started out with a cow donated by the Heifer Project about ten years earlier. Since then her cow had had nine calves, which she had passed on to other families; she had gone to a school to learn to make cheese; and she and the other nine families had started up this little dairy and cheese collective. So, ten families are being supported by the donation of ONE COW. This was a completely unexpected bonus for me to learn about on this trip, which had nothing to do with the Heifer Project. But now I’ve seen first hand that it totally works!

  199. Hi Bloggess! Love you! Just donated to Project Night Night. Thank you for posting this blog!!!

  200. My grandparents have been volunteering at the Heifer International Educational Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas for around 15 years. I have spent a lot of time there as well, and it is an organization near and dear to my heart. So happy to see it featured here!

  201. Ohhh, yes, like Lisa said in comment 253, Kiva.org is AWESOME. I was going to tell you about them, but she already did. So, not necessary there.

  202. http://www.charitynavigator.org/ is a great resource for researching how each charity spends your donation dollars. Look for charities that have higher precentages under “program expenses” as this is how much of the money they receive actually goes to the cause their lobbying for (rather than administration, fund raising, and the CEO’s salary).

    World Vision is my charity of choice this year, http://www.worldvision.org/ You can sponsor a child or give the gift of clothing, education, medicines, contribute to building a well in a village, or food in several forms….including a share (ass-end or otherwise) of a goat, cow or other livestock if you so desire.

  203. We’ve done this in my family for a few years. Instead of getting my parents and siblings gifts, we all do an Adopt-A-Family type charity. My youngest sibling doesn’t have much money so he donates his time at the food bank. This makes us all feel so much better than buying each other junk we don’t need. I also force my children to purge a percentage of their toy closet for donation each year, but that’s just because I’m mean.

  204. Hello, there.

    Just wanted to say I really appreciate this post. Enabling people to donate and otherwise help those less fortunate is a wonderful thing, and often more powerful than we might think. So many people want to do good, but don’t know how or where to start. And i really appreciate you offering your blog as a forum to let people suggest places to donate. 🙂

    I also wanted to say I was involved in a Project Night Night donation drive when I was still in Law School, and they were great people, and wonderful to work with. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be homeless, but I remember how much comfort my stuffed animals and books brought me when I was younger and sick or stuck in hospitals.

    This is also the second year I’ve donated to Child’s Play Charity (http://www.childsplaycharity.org/). They raise money to put new video games and game systems in 70 hospitals around the world, for use by sick, sometimes terminal, children. I’ve got some health problems, and spent plenty of time in hospitals when I was little, and later volunteered at an outpatient/inpatient rehabilitation clinic for children with traumatic brain injuries. Hospitals aren’t happy places. They’re sterile and cold and you’re there because you’re sick and you hurt. Giving children something to take their minds off where they are and what is happening to them is a wonderful thing. Also, there’s lots of fun ways to donate. You can give directly to the charity or participate in any number of affiliate streaming live events (usually related in some way to gaming): http://childsplaycharity.org/events

    And in a strange confluence, just before I saw this post on my twitter feed (retweeted by @JeriLRyan), here’s a completely risk-free, no cost way to donate via some VERY rich gentleman on reedit who will give $21 dollars for every up vote on his post for the next few hours, to a charity of reddit’s choosing. Even if this DOESN’T turn out to come to fruition, you don’t lose anything by upvoting. http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/mzyab/im_part_of_the_1_percent_im_inspired_by_you_guys/

  205. i wish i coluld get help, I am a member of wish upon a hero but I can’t make a wish post til the 20th and by then it will be to late. I made a wish on there for christmas help but accidently deleted it and now can’t repost. I have 5 kids and no way to get them gifts or a tree this year. My local organizations have said they are out of funds. I have been out of work for a year and have applied to one place after another with no luck. One of my children is disabled as well as my husband. My husband is under Dr’s care for vision loss and currently fighting for his disability. I just wish I knew where to turn. My kids desperately need warm clolthes and a toy or 2 would be nice. We went from basically being homeless back in April/May of this year and living in a hotel to having our own place and everything/every piece of income I have goes straight to rent and bills, there are months we have less than 20$ left over to get neccessities. Sorry to ramble. I just don’t really have anyone to talk to about this

  206. I took great pride in telling my newly acquired 15 year old X-box addicted step son that for Xmas this year he could pick an animal from the Heifer Project Catalog and donate 50 dollars for Xmas this year. He proudly chose the llama of which I was secretly proud since I served in the Peace Corps and had castrated llamas in my hay day…. I combined this gift with another Peace Corps special…. condom demonstration on a bannana…… don’t judge…he’s 15 and your daughter will all appreciate it! It may strike some of you as odd that I have combined animal castration with pregnancy prevention in my Xmas list this year but I like to think of it as supporting the circle of life religion…. which would have become much more popular if I had gotten to Tom Cruise before the Scientologists…. oh well…..

  207. So incredibly pissed off that my Paypal account was hacked last week and is now frozen as I’d love to buy one of those night night packs 🙁 Thanks heaps to the arsehole who decided to go buying $500 worth of watches with my hard earned. Hope you enjoy them!
    Assuming it gets sorted in the next week or so I’ll be buying one of those packs. Brilliant idea!

  208. Jenny – I love reading your posts because they make me laugh out loud, which is something I don’t do enough… I *really* love what you are doing here. I donate toys to kids each year and am trying to teach this to my young kids.

    If people are looking for another organization to help, please consider donating socks to The Sock Orphanage, which helps to provide clean socks to people who are currently homeless, seeking shelter from abuse, or are otherwise in need. Or you can purchase a sock puppet kit, and the money raised helps us purchase new socks. http://www.thesockorphanage.org/

  209. Thank you so much, Jenny, for inspiring giving in so many hearts over the last two years. I took the opportunity to donate to Project Night Night (a new one to me!) and will be following it up with my family’s annual trip to our local Angel Tree and food bank.

    You are an amazing person!

  210. Jenny, I cannot quantify how much I want to smother you with hugs and kisses right now. You’re a gorgeous person, inside and out.

  211. Wonderful ideas, but I wonder if you could throw in a request to help your local animal rescue group. Do you have any idea how many companion animals are abandoned to starve, die of thirst, or be wounded or injured on highways? None of our county or local governments have a shelter here for use by those outside of city limits. This is a big deal in this mostly rural area. All those people who “forgot” to spay/neuter their pets, take the resulting babies out to the country and dump them. It’s been decades since I had a pet that I actually picked out. I just keep taking in other people’s cast offs. Hill County Paw Pals is working to help these animals. After years of fund raising and saving, they finally had enough to buy a building and open a Pet Adoption Center. Since it is run 100% by volunteers, they are limited by how many they can rescue. But, they never give up. They operate a monthly low cost spay/neuter clinic and vaccination clinic. They continue to work and devote hours and hours to saving these animals and to trying to raise the funds needed to keep the Adoption Center running. There is a wish list on the page linked above.

    But, if not PawPals, then look in your own community. There are companion animals in need everywhere who need your help to have a Merry Christmas!

  212. You know we always have the hardest time thinking up gifts for my in-laws that don’t leave us feeling like total losers and every year I try to make a point of donating to Toys For Tots, it never occurred to me to put the two together!
    And since Now we have this lovely baby girl we can start teaching her about giving.
    I LOVE IT! Thanks!

  213. My husband is not much of a Christmas person (I think it’s because he’s Jewish?) so unfortunately I can not give him a goat butt on the 25th.

    I can however, give him four goat butts and four goat fronts for Hanukah.

    So thank you.

  214. Fantastic.

    I’ve donated to Suicide Prevention and Crisis Center, KKOOM [a Korean orphanage project], Project Night Night and now I’m buying the ass end of a goat [my typing fingers have been busy]. Because I am finally in a position where I can afford to, and also because fuck you, stupid brother- and sister-in-law, this is what you get this year.

    Happy holidays, bitches.

  215. You’re awesome. And twisty. I like that. Plus, two kids get Project Night Night bags from me -thanks to you. Double awesome. Thanks Jenny!

  216. I made a donation to the Night, night program. In addition, I donate to my school district’s holiday party for children in our district who would not have a Christmas with out help (we had massive flooding this year, so the need is quite high). I’m a teacher, who has to buy quite a good bit of my school supplies. So, I donate regularly to donorschoose, to help other teachers. Finally, I adopted a cat from a shelter that was hit hard by the recent flooding. He’s a sweetie and definitely a gift to me. I hope everyone has a blessed December and for all who are in need, have their needs fulfilled in the new year.

  217. I donated to project Night Night and also sent a donation to our local SPCA to help the homeless companion animals. (the kitties, as opposed to Deh Kitteh). I also shared the post on Face Book and I hope others will read it. Cheers and merry merry.

  218. You always manage to remain gracious and humble, even when you are in pain (which I hope doesn’t happen again this year). I’ve been helping out a friend who just lost her dad, he was an abusive man, and she suffered from anorexia as a teenager (now, it’s probably too much alcohol, but whatever, that’s just how dang codependent I am.) As usual, you make my day. A day filled with baking, candy making and watching my crackhead neighbors try and sneak away to the car long enough to snort something or sell their body, one of those. I hate my neighborhood at times, but for godsakes, it’s never boring. I came in here to the computer for some relief and I find this. XOXOX Very Merry Christmas, my dear.

  219. I remember following the christmas miracle last year! It made me cry!
    I think you made a good decision.
    I’d never heard of the wish site before. I think its a great idea. Maybe one day I can grant wishes. For the time being I created a wish. http://www.wishuponahero.com/wishes/?id=1084285
    I posted pics of my kids but not myself. They must think I’m a dude. At least according to my silhouette.

  220. holy snasausges Tamara!
    I read your story and I can’t believe how hard it had to of been to do what you did!

  221. My wife and I just bought a kid new clothes, socks, and sneakers and had them shipped directly to his mom through the Hero website. What a fantastic way to connect directly with people who need help! Thank you so much for connecting me to this website! We’re also packaging up some hoilday lights and ornaments and sending them to her since she hasn’t put their tree up due to lack of lights.

    My family got a lot of help from kind strangers over the years- everything from donated clothes to help with college (through scholarships). I’ve worked hard and been so lucky that my son doesn’t know a world where he wants for anything. I’m so happy to be able to “pay forward” the help that was given to me when I was a kid.

    A thousand thank yous, Jenny!

  222. Hi Jenny! This is a wonderful initiative and I have donated a flock of chicks and the butt end of a goat on behalf of my parents. That will teach them for forgetting my son’s birthday! 😛

  223. …forgot to mention, thank you. I checked out Wish Upon a Hero, granted a wish and spread the word to my friends. you are a good peep!

  224. I have already given money for my son’s class to buy a flock of chicks through the Heifer Project. Today I bought pajamas for kids at Safe Harbor, an emergency shelter for abused women. I also bought toys for A Child’s Haven which is a program for at-risk kids whose parents are in danger of losing custody because they lack parenting skills (and possibly common sense). Because my son has autism and spent years receiving services through the Center For Developmental Services http://www.cdservices.org I give to them every year. It is an awesome place. Check it out.

  225. Being in a homeless shelter sucks…especially at Christmas (I was in one while pregnant and the stress led to premature birth). Thank you for helping so many people.

    We gave to Toys for Tots. I also donate new books to children who are in the hospital during the holidays.

  226. I just donated one project night night package. I, too, am going to post it on my facebook page. I always donate to MSF (Doctors Without Borders) and my local Good Will. Oh hell, I think I will go buy something from your store too.

  227. Normally I ‘d suggest people donate to my favorite charity (me) but given the current state of the economy and the miserable shape that many are in I’ll simply say thank you for running this post.

  228. Oh, this is fucking BRILLIANT. I’m gonna buy my mama a llama.
    Cause when she came to visit us last year, she got spit at my a llama named Hilary. Or maybe it was an alpaca. Whatever. She backtalked it and it spit hay all over her and I peed my pants laughing. Not good to do in zero degree weather.

    And here I am, stumped with what to get her….I can get her her own damn llama.
    There’s justice there somewhere, right?

  229. I wanted to email and ask if you were doing this again this year, but I kept forgetting (also, I am lazier than dirt). And twitter seemed like such a commitment… All I can say is this post made me cry, and you would have been plastered all over GMA and every other news outlet looking for a “Christmas Miracle” story last year if only you were a tad tamer, and there are no words to express my thanks to you for just being yourself.

    My father has spent the last 16 months since my mom passed away getting rid of clutter and I am loath to get him shit he doesn’t need (and he doesn’t need anything). I’m going to donate to Toys for Tots and take pictures for him. Maybe I’ll even add the $100 he lost to me in a Herman-Cain-related bet I won this weekend to the kitty (hey–you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can’t pick your family).

  230. I have a sister and a husband who are both database geniuses. Maybe next year I can team up with you? I am a nobody blogger, but perhaps with your reach and my family to help out with the tech end of it, we could top the $40,000? I’d be quite happy to be the typing-and-matching-up-behind-the-scenes person for something so great, if you were willing to put up a post and do your magic to bring people together.

    These are all great ideas, though, and I am looking forward to my own list of giving (which usually includes DonorsChoose.org and lots of local children’s charities). Thanks for all you do!

  231. Thank you so much for posting this. This is my daughters first Christmas, along with her first birthday on the 29th. We want to incorporate charity with her each year and thanks to you we have picked Project Night Night this year. In just over an hour I have been able to collect enough in donations to order 30 bags. Bless you!

  232. I’m such a wonderful mother (think Mommie Dearest) that I’ve made my daughter save one of her birthday presents since October so she could donate it to Toys For Tots. (She enjoys it, and it’s usually either a duplicate gift or something she didn’t like)

    At work, we adopt families through Angel Tree. It’s Alanis Morrissette ironic, I think. We’re a crime lab, and we adopt children who have parents who are incarcerated. So yeah, we help put ’em in jail…but we give presents to their children.

  233. I don’t know if my heart can take the melting!
    I remember when I was 17 and a cashier– I picked up one of the tags off a tree in the mall. I had so much fun putting together a box for that strange kid. I was weird even then and included some wonky note. I wonder if they remember me?

  234. Inspired by the Doggie Pad Project:
    Collecting to donate to So-Cal Animal shelters this winter.
    if you have a donation please Message/Post in Redlands, CA or Riverside, CA area. We need a lot more!
    Shelters are in need of supplies especially now as many animals are outside during these cold months. Please help us provide a pad and more for their kennel.
    Items needed: BLANKETS and TOWELS, TARPS, DOG FOOD & TREATS, CLEANING PRODUCTS, STUFFED ANIMALS & TOYS, PILLOWS, MATS & BEDS, Etc…

    All Donations will go to local So-Cal Shelters.
    1. McFarland Animal Shelter:
    401 W. Kern Avenue McFarland, CA 93250 · 661-792-3091
    2. Westside German Shepherd Rescue:
    1845 Pontius Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025

    http://www.facebook.com/HelpingK9s, http://www.helpingk9s.com, https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Doggie-Pad-Project/106035399510839?sk=info

  235. Just donated a bag to Project Nite Nite! What an EXCELLENT charity. Also, look into The Drake House here in Roswell, GA. It’s crisis housing for single moms.

    Thanks for never failing to make me laugh!

  236. Awesome post, and idea. THANK YOU! I donated a goat in honor of my mother last year. I wanted to include the whole family, but my (almost-40-year-old) sister kicked up a fuss about not having “something from Banana Republic” under the tree. (My mistake: asking people what they thought of the idea beforehand). This year, I’m just donating an alpaca in honor of the whole family. And if anyone wants an individual gift, I’ll tell them which part of the alpaca has their name on it!

  237. Just donated to Project Night Night because I couldn’t even read the description of the organization without tearing up.

  238. I love llamas. The first time I met one in real life, he walk right up to me and kissed me on the lips. I bought a stuffed dog at petsmart today because the proceeds go to animal rescue groups. I can donate that to toys for tots! I’ll get a couple more and donate them in my dad’s memory. He loved giving his grandchildren a very merry Christmas.
    Win/win/win.

  239. Thank you so much for posting these sites. it takes so little to make a huge difference in someones life. Thank you for using your voice to get the word out. May you and your family have the least emotionally draining holiday ever!
    cheers!

  240. gave some over at Wish upon a hero, what an awesome website, thanks for the tip! now if I could just get the hubby to stop making cracks about getting a heifer in a shopping cart for christmas…..

  241. I went through the trackbacks for the James Garfield stuff. The interview on CBC was freakin’ awesome. I’m Canadian, seeing you and a incredibly cheerful stuffed boar’s head on my National Broadcaster cracked me right up. There were tears. ManFriend didn’t know what the hell was going on. I turned the laptop towards him, and says, “What the fuck is the pig there for?!” I took the opportunity to say, “It’s James Garfield” then not explain myself. Pure bliss.

    http://www.uend.org/ is another donation site where the ‘gift’ receiver gets to choose where they want the money to go. I gave them out last year in addition to a smaller loot pile, and my family loved it. My plan is to keep it a tradition. Smaller, less-expensive gifts for the people who have everything, and gifts that mean more to the people who have nothing. Love all around!

  242. Just did two Project Night-Night packages. Thanks for putting these links together. You fucking ROCK. And it’s totally another James Garfield miracle!

  243. As usual (!) there are too many comments already to read through so I hope I’m not double posting this info. There is an organization here in Austin called Mobile Loaves & Fishes ( mlf.org ) that works with the homeless. Actually, I should say they started here in Austin because they have now got trucks in San Antonio, New Orleans, Providence and Minneapolis. I learned of them several years ago when I had the opportunity to sing in a fund raising concert they had. They are truly wonderful people whose mission is to see and treat all the homeless they meet with real dignity. They provide food to those on the streets. I would encourage anyone to add them to their list of organizations to consider.

    Truly, Jenny, you are an inspiration. Thank you for all you’ve done and all you continue to do. And for writing about it so as to inspire so many others.

  244. Thanks to you I just donated to Project Night Night.

    Another great cause is Cup of Joe for a Joe. For $2.00 you can buy a coffee and send a note of encouragement to a soldier who is away from home during the holidays (or any time of year)

    http://www.greenbeanscoffee.com/coj/

  245. I have been a longtime reader of your blog and was looking forward to seeing what you and James Garfield were doing for the Holidays this year. I’m glad to see you’re (semi) continuing your (newish) tradition. While we have always been very blessed with family to help us with our children and a situation that gives us a roof over our head, our employment situation has gone from amazing and (we thought) for the long term to absolutely non-existent. Because of our enormous family, our children want for nothing when it comes to Christmas and needs in general… however my Husband’s health makes it increasingly more difficult for him to find a job. All we want for Christmas is a new shoulder and unfortunately, the expenses for that is beyond help from family. I’ll link to our Wish Upon a Hero at the end, but I wanted to thank YOU Jenny for having such a large heart that you couldn’t possibly skip this “event” of yours even though it has burdened your own health in the past. Your posts bring my Husband and I to TEARS with both giggles (ok, snorts too) and somber nodding as we both deal with debilitating anxiety/depression (me more than him, and this year has been harder for me that I can ever remember.) You are an amazing and strong woman, and you’ve been a role model to me from day one. You’re probably the reason I started my own blog. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    Tiffany

    http://www.wishuponahero.com/wishes/?id=1084531

  246. Fantastic ideas. I let my now 10-yr-old choose. We’ve done T4T, Heifer International, both . . . this year I’ll let her choose again, but it’s the first year I’ve heard of the Night Night project, so we’ll see what she deicdes. She donates allowance, I match, and we both spill some tears. it’s beautiful. Thanks for the ideas!

  247. Love your humor and your big heart…

    I’ve always wanted to grant a wish like a Glinda the Good Witch but always feel more like Margaret Hamilton…so, I’ll check out the sites you mentioned. Toys for Tots is a constant.

    I also support Big Cat Rescue down in Florida…

  248. You have so many freaking comments and I normally don’t comment when that is the case, but my 22 year old daughter, who led me to your blog in the first place because she spent an entire day laughing at her computer on the dining room table, because she had discovered you and was reading all your back posts. Well, SHE insists that you do read all your comments so here I am.

    You may want to add World Vision to your list. http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/xxwv2ibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?funnel=gc&item=1597888&go=item&section=11080&amp; It is awesome. You can give a goat (for milk, they don’t eat them), a chicken, seed, fishing gear… I am giving a goat to a family in Africa for a present to my sister and her family. I think they will love it!

  249. To Aussie Readers, You’ve almost missed GIFT WEEK! The Good Gifts Guide has a lot of the smaller charities who don’t normally get a look in. Also if you ARE a small charity make sure you get in next year’s list 🙂
    http://www.ourcommunity.com.au/files/goodgiftsguide.pdf
    Or go tho the website http://www.givenow.com.au

    Naturally there’s
    http://www.oxfamunwrapped.com.au/
    http://trans.worldvision.com.au/Gifts/GiftCatalogue/Gifts.aspx?source=1233
    http://www.unicef.org.au/Charity-Gifts.aspx?gclid=CMvC7tic6qwCFWdNpgodin2wJw

    It’s all sooo much more fun than soap and bits of printed cardboard.

    Good Luck to you all

    Tamara Kelly
    Grant Goblin
    BIEDO.org.au

  250. Before I forget *again*, a great site for your list of links next year = http://www.lbeh.org

    It started accidentally too, and helps junior enlisted troops fly home for the holidays.

    Keep being awesome. Please hug James Garfield for me. Many thanks!

  251. Love this sort of thing! We’re proud of our kids because each year they choose something out of the Tear Australia catalogue (www.usefulgifts.org) in lieu of a gift, then choose another that they pay for out of their own money. This year it looks like being bee keeping (AUD$10) and Vegetable Farming (AUD$25), plus school supplies etc. It is great for kids especially to start to help others from an early age – something your parents obviously taught you!

  252. This is the first year I only have to buy presents for 3 ppl. So, I will go to the ‘Hero’ website and take care of someone.. Hope we all have peace this Holiday season!

  253. Eight years ago I received my first Heifer Intl catalog in the mail, and every adult family member got a goat for Xmas. I think they thought they were actually getting goats, which would have been less disappointing to them than how it actually works. And every year since I say, you’re all getting goats, and these grown, well-fed people bitch and moan and insist on ‘real’ gifts even though they need nothing. As though goats for the third world poor is somehow a gift for myself and not a gift for humanity. I’m really embarrassed by them, and ashamed of myself for caving in to their selfishness. You’ve inspired me to do something meaningful this year – thank you.

  254. Hi there:) I was very fortunate and also very grateful to be one that was helped last year. So to all the people that helped our family: THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! We have been blessed in the past to be able to help others as well and it is a wonderful feeling! This year however, has been a struggle maybe more so then last year. I have posted at WUAH…here is my link. Thank you for allowing me to post this link and to everyone….MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
    http://www.wishuponahero.com/wishes/?id=1085017
    ~Michelle

  255. Just bought 2 Project Night Night packs and some honey bees and 5 shares of a sheep. Happy holidays and hope it all adds up to a great miracle 🙂

  256. I really want to buy the ass end of a number of goats. I’ve got that many in-laws who are deserving.

    Thanks – as always – for the good work you do.

    -Becky

  257. You are AWESOME!

    And keep harrassing Nathan Fillion unti you get your twine photo 🙂

    Claudette in Chesapeake VA

  258. When I told my son that you had purchased a llama the first question that he asked was not “Why did she do that?” but “What is his name?” LOL . Even my kids wouldn’t think twice about you buying a llama!

  259. Okay, so WorldVision.com lets you do basically the same thing as Heifer, but with a less awesome name. The great thing about WorldVision, though, is that you can donate BUNNIES to families in underdeveloped countries. The families get the bunnies to have sex and then EAT them. After their babies are fully-grown of course. There’s no benefit that I know of from letting bunnies have sex directly before popping them in the stewpot. Maybe it affects the flavor…

  260. Jenny, Jenny, Jenny….what have you done to me? Normally you make me spit cola out of my nose. But today you’ve caused me to waste my whole morning on the awesome Hero site. My unconquered Mt. Laundry pile hates you, but I love you for sharing such great ideas.

  261. You realize you’re a fucking saint, right? You play it down and all, but at the end of the day you’re just pure inspiration. Thanks for making the world better.

    And thanks for telling me about Wish Upon a Hero. I’ll tell all my friends.

  262. Dear Jenny,
    Thanks for making it cool to be nose-snort funny and bat-shit crazy at the same time. You are making the world a better place, once giant metal chicken at a time.
    Now for the shameless pitch, which I don’t feel too bad about, because it is such a damn good cause. Last year, I founded a small non-profit dedicated to helping people with albinism in East Africa, who are murdered by witch doctors, who then use their body parts to make potions that they claim will increase your wealth or luck. No, this isn’t made up. Why I am helping albinos across the world? Both of my kids have albinism, and this was easier (although less satisfying) than going on a witch-doctor safari myself. Thanks for the platform, and in case anyone has read this far, our website is http://www.asante-mariamu.org.

  263. i really wanted to donate to heifer int’l for all adults on my gift list this year. i mean, i could have donated a FUCK LOAD of animals. but not the guinea pigs that ‘provide protein’ because i’m pretty sure there is only ONE way a guinea pig can provide protein, and it ain’t by keeping it as a pet.

    but my brother (a vegetarian) and awesome husband are against it. my brother because we’d basically be donating animals for other people to eat, and awesome husband because he doesn’t see how it can make a difference. damn it. i think it’s an awesome idea.

  264. Well, that Wish Upon a Hero thing sounds pretty neat. I’d love to fulfill some random person’s wish… especially if said person is wishing for two children, ages 4 and 1, to take with them on an extended vacation. As I sit here watching my son eating his toast with one hand and digging in his butt with his other one (hands down his pants and everything), I think I might need to wish for a giant case of hand sanitizer. Either way, it sounds like fun to me! Thanks for sharing!

  265. Not only do you bring laughter and joy to every one of your readers – you are FUCKING awesome for using your forum to help others that are in great need this time of year – the world needs more people JUST LIKE YOU! Thanks for making my day – too frequently for me to count, and for being involved in things just like this – and for the record – I think your efforts deserve a WHOLE FLOCK of brand new Metal Chickens!!!!!!

  266. I don’t know. I can think of a ton of things I could do with a Bloggess torso.

    None of them are appropriate for this comment section.

    FYI – I’m donating everything in my zazzle.com/mentalpoo store coffer to charity – which only amounts to $7 vs your $1000 because, apparently, no one wants a “I <3 my penis" tee these days. Go figure.

  267. So I was one of the families who were helped last year by the Bloggess — a generous soul made it possible for my then 19 month old and 4 month old to have a Christmukkah. We’re not much better off this year, but I have managed to cobble together a giveaway on my blog for a kid in need. So if anyone’s inclined to take a peek or enter or whatever, it’s completely unsponsored, just us trying to pay it forward the best we can. The link is http://www.sotabulous.com/2011/12/paying-it-forward-honest-to-cheesus.html if you’re interested.
    Thanks again to this community and the Bloggess for just being awesome. 🙂

  268. I was going to wish for Nathan Fillion’s ass at Wish Upon a Hero, but decided that was probably not appropriate since only one donor could grant that wish. So, I gave them some money instead, because this year I can.

    Thanks for being you and dragging all the rest of us along with you on this trip. I know it makes for some excess baggage but we’re worth it.

  269. I am a new follower and wasn’t around for last year’s miracle but I love this post and all the great ideas. I’m going to donate to Project Night Night. Just the thought of all the kids that are homeless really tugs at my heart. I tweeted and posted on facebook about the cause so hopefully other people will also feel like they can spare $20 for such a great cause.

  270. Just donated to Project Night Night. What an awesome thing. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Merry Christmas!

  271. I have been a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters for almost 3 years, so I donate 8-10 hours a month to hanging out with my Little Sister. It’s the best volunteer work that I have ever done, and I forget that it’s volunteer work sometimes. I tell my fiance sometimes that I wish I did more volunteer work, and he reminds me that I have a whole kid that I work with!

    My family also adopts a family in need every Christmas and provide them with gifts so that they don’t go without for Christmas. It’s incredibly rewarding for us to do this that we look forward to it every year. I’m trying to convince the rest of my family to forgo giving gifts to each other every year and instead adopt more families. I’ve been trying to do this for more than 10 years, and every year they buy gifts that we really don’t need. I’m going to keep trying!

    Jenny, thank you for all that you do to make this world a little better 🙂

  272. This is so awesome and the sheer number of people already involved is impressive! With that said I would like to share a link for my favorite charity. It is a Southern Idaho charity that grants wishes to adults with terminal illnesses. This may be the last Christmas many of these people get with their famlies and Wish Granters is there to give the family one last memory together. So, if you are so inclined to go and donate please do so. http://www.wishgranters.org/

  273. If you’re looking for a fun, easy way to show some Christmas spirit, and don’t have a lot of money, check out the Elephants Remember Joplin group on Facebook. It was started by an 8 year old girl (and her mom) who wanted to help the children in Joplin who lost so much in the tornados this year. She’s still trying to help, and there are still easy, fun things you can do to help.

    Even if you do nothing but join the group and show you her your support it helps show a little girl that she is making a difference.

  274. First– of all the weidos on the, you are, by far, the most awesome.

    Second–My request for this season of giving is that everyone please remembers to give a kind word to your children’s teachers. Teachers have taken a serious social and political pounding this year and could use some support. Girts are totally unnecessary, but a card or note thanking them or letting them know you appreciate what they are doing everyday goes a long way. Most of them will be spending their holidays grading student work and planning lessons, so reminding them you know they work hard, despite what the media says, may be the best thing they get this holiday season. (I say this as a former teacher who spent my holidays trying to make my time and ‘overpaid’ salary stretch as far as possible.)

  275. Local food pantries are very low on food and other items this time of year too. I teach in a very small school district and our kids donated over 2000 items to our local pantry. The women who run it were overwhelmed because they were virtually empty after Thanksgiving.

    Great ideas, can’t wait to share some of them with my students.

    Oh and my bff from jh and I randomly will email each other things from your site because you and your friends have conversations just like we do!

  276. I won’t lie–the idea of buying a llama is so fun that I feel slightly guilty that I am “helping” people just so I can, as you did, buy a damn llama. I do think I should be allowed to name it though.

    You are awesome, Jenny. Happy Holidays!

  277. I just bought 10 bags for Project Night Night. I’m having a great deal of trouble not crying at work thinking about the fact that such things are needed. Thank you for the recommendation.

  278. And then I’d just be a torso. No one wants that.

    I don’t know. That sounds kind of hot.

    (Thank you for the links. I have family members who pretty much have everything, so I’ll be making donations in their names.)