Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giving this Season Could Improve Your Happiness as Well as Help People in Need

As we enter the gift giving season it may be a good idea to visit sites like Oxfam America and UNICEF which allows you to send a new kind of gift card--with a photo of a donkey or a goat
on it that you have donated in the person's name to a village on the other side of the world. This seems a neat idea--give a sheep for $50 instead of buying a sheerling coat that if you were honest you don't really need. As the Oxfam America item description reads:

"Raising these fleecy critters allows women to create their own income. What's more, the sheep's wool is used to make local textiles. When you give this gift, you know it's helping others, so there's no need to count sheep—you're sure to sleep well!"
It is a clever idea that Oxfam America has hit on and it does make it tempting when you can also make the donation tax deductible.
UNICEF Winter Survival Pack
If sheep are not in your thoughts this year perhaps a "Winter Survival Pack" would be more to your liking, for $81 dollars  ($30 or so more than the sheep)  UNICEF will buy
" a girl or boy with the supplies they most need to survive the next 6 months:
Micronutrient powders that help a child on the brink of malnutrition get the vitamins and minerals that are most essential for them to grow up healthy. Immunizations from measles and polio that will save a child from two of the most common and painful diseases in the developing world. Water purification tablets to filter out dirt and bacteria from water so that children can drink without fear of getting sick. Your pack contains enough tablets to clean 50,000 liters of water!"

Something to think about this holiday season as we wander the malls with no idea of what we need to buy for the person who has it would seem everything when compared to the desperate people who reside on our planet! Research supports a more giving attitude--studies "reveal that personal spending had no link with a person's happiness, while spending on others and charity was significantly related to a boost in happiness."  According to one reference to a  study published in no less a journal than Science--"In a representative survey of 630 Americans..regardless of how much income each person made..those who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not."  In a separate study of 13 employees at a Boston-based firm, the researchers found that employees who devoted more of their profit-sharing bonus (which ranged from $3,000 to $8,000) to others reported greater overall happiness than those who spent the windfall on their own needs." Something to think about as you are out in the malls this year. How about a sheep and a gift card instead of that tie/gadget or other thing you have plenty of?

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