Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spreading The Christmas Spirit - Part III

Welcome to Part III of how we spread the Christmas Spirit.  If you want to read Part I, you will find it Here, Part II is Here and the balance of Part II is Here

So now on to the third and final post on how we celebrate Christmas at our home.

My husband and I have been together for nearly 12 years. Before that, he had raised a family with his first wife and during those holidays, very little was given to charity. His ex has since remarried but to this day, is very proud to share with everyone how many items she receives for Christmas. Sadly, she determines her value to others based on the price tags attached to the gifts under the tree for her each Christmas.

It wasn't easy for my husband to catch on to my own disinterest in receiving big ticket items after experiencing the holidays with his first wife. While we were dating, he did purchase lovely jewelry for me but after we married, as long as I had a wedding ring set that I loved, I already had a favorite right-hand ring. Anything else he purchased would just sit in my jewelry box unworn which to me represented a total waste of money. He too was uninterested in receiving gifts from me which I found out when he would roll his eyes at whatever I purchased for him those first few holidays we spent together.

It wasn't long before we realized that going through this charade each Christmas was a waste of our time and money. Then we discovered Kiva Loans That Change Lives.  It was like a lightbulb moment for us and we decided right then and there that this was what we would be doing with any money we felt we wanted to spend on one another during the holidays.

One Kiva story that stands out is one about a hard working mother in Africa who was grinding peanuts by hand to make peanut butter to sell. She could not keep up with the demand for her product as she could only grind a limited amount of peanuts in the run of a day. She applied to Kiva for an interest-free loan to buy a grinder so she could increase her production while at the same time saving her hands. Thanks to that loan, she did exactly that while paying back every cent over the period of one year. She was then able to expand her small business, buy more grinders and now employs other mothers who are now able to provide for their own families. All of this spinoff was created because she was able to borrow the money to obtain a simple grinder.

This is an organization I can stand behind. I have never been a fan of throwing money at a problem or at poverty. The majority of people don't want to be dependent on a regular handout, they want the ability to earn an honest living and support their families which is exactly what Kiva offers.

To date, my husband and I have helped finance 33 interest-free loans. So far, that has amounted to $900 with the majority of those loans now repaid allowing that same money to be re-loaned to others. Not one loan has been defaulted on and we get the story of each individual and also get to choose the country, the person and the business to assist.

So sometime on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, my husband and I will sit down at the computer, sign into our  Kiva account and help finance more loans. I can tell you with complete honesty, the joy I feel knowing we are a small link in a very important chain far outweighs any thrill I would get from unwrapping a piece of jewelry on Christmas morning.

Happy Holidays Everyone!
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54 comments:

Sicnerely, Jenni said...

That is awesome! I think I have seen that website before, but never looked much into it.

I'm going to go check it out right now. What a great way to pay it forward!

My Aimless Infatuation said...

You are truly,one special lady. I hope all YOUR wishes come true this Christmas.

Corrie Howe said...

Wow! I've read about programs like these, but I didn't know that people could become personally involved in the loans.

Thanks, I'm going to keep this in mind for the future.

Lissaloo said...

That is so neat, to be able to help and see where it goes. What a great program, I am going to have to check this out :)

Hissyfits & Halos said...

That's what everyone's Christmas SHOULD be about. A great idea, and I completely agree with you on the gift part. This is a true window to your heart, and I know you will be blessed in return.

Have a Merry Christmas!

PJ said...

what an awesome kind thoughtful thing for you and your husband to do. i checked out the site and some day i hope to be able to do something like that. have a wonderful day...hugz!

Working Mommy said...

It is sad that his ex-wife feels that acting in such a manner is acceptable...good thing he got out while he could!

~WM

ModernMom said...

What an amazing sounding website! I love love this idea and am going to look at it right now!

Heather @ Two Little Monkeys said...

What a wonderful thing you and your husband does. I hope you and your family have a very blessed Christmas.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

This is great! I've heard of Kiva Loans but didn't know much about it...I'm going to check out the site.

Merry Christmas!

Too Many Hats said...

I've never heard of Kiva loans. What a wonderful thing! You truly are helping people and to get to hear of their success must be so heart-warming.

Karen said...

This is just fabulous! Deb, you are such a beautiful person. This warmed the coccals (sp??) of my heart. I love your giving soul. I found out about microloans a few years ago and used to donate regularly and then I stopped for some silly reason but I must go back and make it a regular thing again. Thank you so much for sharing your giving heart. May abundant blessings pour out from heaven to protect your family and home and prosper your business. xo

Trish said...

Again, like the other stuff you do, this is just awesome! Wish more people in this world were like you!

Samantha said...

That's awesome! Love it.

Joanne said...

What a wonderful gesture on your part. Your generous hearts are such a blessing to someone in need. Kudos to you both, and wishing you a Merry Christmas :)

gayle said...

I really like this idea!!My husband and I have a problem on what to get each other every year. I am checking this out! Thanks!!

honeypiehorse said...

That is fantastic! My family has switched to exchanging charitable donations instead of stuff but I haven't heard of this one.

singedwingangel said...

I have never heard of them but that definitely sounds like something I would be interestedin doing and telling others about.. Love it and how sweet to give back and still understand the love it is done in..

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

First, sorry I haven't been around. Second, your new friend is freaking me out and it seems she is showing up wherever I go these days. I don't know how to explain it other than I feel like I am being followed and watched all the time. Unfortunately, since she has decided to infiltrate my online existence, I am thinking of moving on...I'll let you know what I decide.

Nezzy said...

Great project! Hubby and I also do things other than spending the money on us. We are big on the heifer project which provides third world nations with livestock in which they can survive on for food and also to have product to sell. Giving of oneself is what the season is all about.

God bless and have a wonderful day!!!

Caution Flag said...

You are wonderful and motivating and my favorite blogging find of 2009!! Thank-you!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Wow, Deb! That is so awesome! Reading about the woman and her peanut butter gave me major chills. What a great idea to help others! You ROCK! :)

Jenny said...

Thought provoking post. Thank you. Your story reminds me so much of my husband and his previous wife. It's amazing how different people can be. And sad.

Brian Miller said...

really cool. kiva is a great organization. microfinance is so intriguing and helpful beyond measure..

hope you have an amazing christmas!

Six Feet Under Blog said...

How cool. Hope you have a great holiday!

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Oh my gosh, what an amazing idea! I have never heard of this; you guys are awesome. I hate when couples say, "oh, we don't buy each other gifts, who has the time." That always sounds like such a disinterested cop-out to me.
This is sooo much better.
I've gotta look this up. Thank you.

Midday Escapades said...

You and hubs are truly awesome people! Thanks for sharing the spirit with all of us.

Martha in PA said...

What a wonderful thing for you to do!

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I love that idea! I've never heard of Kiva before but I did go to their website. I'm hoping to begin lending next year if I can find a job. I would love to help out.

Your spirit is so much like mine....I don't need frills...only the thrills!

newmumover40 said...

Wow, that sounds fantastic! Off to look at it now!
xx

Iva said...

sounds like an amazing site! I am going to go check it out now! thank you for sharing! I hope you have a fabulous holiday!

COUNTRY MOM said...

Deb, Stopped by to say Hi. Hope you and your family are having a great day.

Tara said...

What a great idea! I'll have to check out that site for sure.

Nancy@ifevolutionworks.com said...

Your Kiva tradition is exactly what the spirit of Christmas and giving is REALLY about. I think it's FANTASTIC!

NYCGAL said...

This is wonderful!! Thanks for sharing :)

Kimberly said...

This is what Christmas is all about.

Good for you!

Buckeroomama said...

Bless you and your family for the help that you have provided other people, both through your donation of new toys and through your help in financing loans to those who need them through Kiva.

May the blessings you bring to others come back to you a hundredfold.

The Mommyologist said...

You are always helping out other people and this sounds like another great cause! I will have to check it out. I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Together We Save said...

That is so awesome. I have never heard of this.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

Sarah said...

I have actually heard of this and I think it sounds wonderful! What a great way to celebrate Christmas. You have found the true meaning.

Heather said...

That is great that there are such organizations out there like that and you and your hubby are part of it.

I'm going to try to save up some money this year, so I can join in on being charitable.

Just Another Momma said...

That is so awesome! I've not heard of that before but the hubs and I will have to check that out this weekend. Thanks for the great post!

Rabbit said...

You just amaze me and make me want to be a better man. Thank you.

(I posted this on Twitter as well. Figured the more people that know about it, perhaps the more people will help out.)

kys said...

That is a great thing to do at the holidays. Hubs and I don't do gifts either. We have all that we need and most of the things we want.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Kristin said...

You have such a charitable soul lady. You continue to amaze me. Happy holidays!

tattytiara said...

Kiva doesn't happen to be one of the organizations I support financially, but I've always liked the concept and have heard wonderful success stories about the people who have received loans. Sounds like a great "teach a person to fish" organization.

Jeanne said...

That's such a great program. I'm going to have to turn over the couch cushions after our 6 children and 11 grandchildren leave tomorrow and see if I can unearth some coin to invest in a few loans.

adrienzgirl said...

Hubs and I exchange gifts. We enjoy finding that one thing that will just make the other smile from ear to ear. Often times they are just trinkets to go with some inside joke that we share together, just the two of us.

We do the charitable stuff all throughout the year. :D

Merry Christmas!

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

You are just an awesome lady!!!
Wishing you and your family PLENTY OF WELL-DESERVED HAPPINESS!!!
And everything that you would wish for yourself and yours!
xoxoxo

yonca said...

That is a FANTASTIC program.Thanks for sharing the spirit with us.Hope you and your family have a great holiday!

Nikia, May and da kids said...

You are helping so many by your contribution. You are helping women without means have a shot at NOT being oppressed and become self sufficient and so you should be very proud that you are changing the world, one person at a time.

The world is lacking good doers like yourself = )

May

Anita said...

Deb, I sense that you are a very organized person, which gives you room for thinking of others and acting upon it.
I like giving too, and I do quite a bit, but I'm still working on simplyfying my life. When I get there, I would love to do some of the things that you do, too. :)

ethelmaepotter! said...

I had no idea such a wonderful organizaion existed. Thanks to people like you and your husband, it will thrive, and more women like the one you mentioned will find their own way in life.
The true spirit of Christmas shines brightly in your home.

Melinda Arnold said...

I love this! I'm going to look a little closer into this! Lover and I are not exchanging gifts at Christmas, like you I seem to be gathering jewellery that I'm not wearing.