Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Christmas Charity Vouchers

Give the gift of giving
 
(+4, -4)
  [vote for,
against]

Much of Christmas is about giving, both as a symbolic expression of care to those who are dear to us and as a concrete action of care to those for whom such gifts are dearly needed.

However, Christmas cards and gifts miss out on the true meaning of Christmas. It is true that they are greatly enjoyed by the recipients but yet the end effect is generally of little benefit unless the recipient has a true need of the gift.

This idea introduces Christmas Charity Vouchers, issued by high-street banks basically as a special format cheque with seasonal decorations. The 'pay to' line reads 'dear'; and underneath the amount is a line stating 'to be paid to any registered charity of your choice'.

The reverse of the voucher has checkboxes for common charities and entry boxes for entering those who didn't make the cut this year. These are to allow the recipient to choose his or her preferred charity for the donation.

For a child to be able to give a substantial donation to a charity is a wonderful thing, an action he will remember throughout his life and something he will hopefully repeat with his own money once he has some.

It is true that an accountant would decide this is giving to charity by proxy and in some ways it is. However, I feel that just in choosing a charity the recipient participates in the true spirit of Christmas by empathising with those who are in need and making a difference.

If we were very lucky, some of the recipients might be stirred into deep thought about whether they themselves would prefer feeding the hungry, helping the sick or finding homes for stray dogs to having a Wii this Christmas.

If the vouchers took off, we could see some charitable spotlight shows shown on Boxing Day so that those who've received a voucher can watch, learn and choose. A bit of humble thought about those less fortunate than ourselves certainly wouldn't hurt on the day after Christmas Day's excesses.

vincevincevince, Nov 29 2007

Inspired, in part from Charity_20Xmas_20Cards
[vincevincevince, Nov 29 2007]

Plan alternative gifts http://plangifts.org/
A present from you for them to help someone else. [squeak, Nov 29 2007]

[link]






       + from me (cos it was inspired by my Xmas Card idea). BTW if anyone gives me one of these instead of a 'real present' it may change to a bone.
Brett-Blob, Nov 29 2007
  

       Widely known to exist.   

       I have two pet charities that I give to and both of them have a system like this. You buy presents for third parties/organisations on behalf of the giftee. e.g. I bought my mum + dad the present of kitting out a classroom in a disadvantaged school (my parents were both teachers). I'll look for a link.
squeak, Nov 29 2007
  

       //Widely known to exist//   

       I'm not sure this is widely known to exist. The giver of the gift in this case does not choose a charity or give the money to a charity; that choice is entirely in the hands of the recipient (so long as it's a registered charity).   

       This idea gives some involvement in the process (choosing the charity) and also makes the process much more tactile and real (especially to a child) in actually handing over the money for the charity.   

       I guess what I feel differentiates this idea from a gift on behalf of a third party is that this gift is the gift of giving itself. It enables someone (the recipient) to give to someone needy at Christmas.
vincevincevince, Nov 29 2007
  

       I love this idea. There are several people on my list that, well, just don't need anything. This is truly "giving the gift of giving", and could help many a charity. [+]
ed, Nov 29 2007
  

       You're giving me some money, but you're telling me how I have to spend it?
angel, Nov 29 2007
  

       //and may be used by some to show off to friends and family in the process// True, but cf. buying expensive gifts for people to show off; on net the same process but in one case a charity gets a nice donation.
vincevincevince, Nov 29 2007
  
      
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