The true spirit of gift-giving


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It's silly season and many companies will be doing "Secret Santa" gift-giving in the workspace. As my gorgeous better-half points out; people will be blowing R50 on stupid little gifts. Instead of Secret Santa in your office this year PLEASE can you try and mobilise your office to rather take all of those R50 notes and donate to a charity. Of course, my chosen charity is Berea - Hillbrow HOME OF HOPE.

Everyone in the office can nominate a charity and you can put them in a hat and draw one, or perhaps your company already has a Corporate Social Investment charity.

Hell, why not go the whole hog and instead of an end-of-year party you all go and do charitable work for the day. Imagine tossing out all of that conspicuous consumerism and saving the money that would be spent on a lavish restaurant lunch, where everyone gets a bit too tipsy and does or says things they regret afterwards, and donating that money to charity while you all get together and do charitable work. Everyone wins! The company doesn't have to worry about any personal fallouts and runaway booze bills, you and your colleagues will experience great camaraderie and charitable spirit, along with team-building and bonding. Awards can still be given out, and the underprivileged will get a much-needed boost of festive spirit and cheer. Try out - They will easily set up the whole thing for you, including transport.

If there are too many "Bah Humbugs!" about having to do charity work and no end-of-year pissup, take the team out for some well-deserved drinks or a lunch afterwards.


Our family usually has a massive big lunch together with everyone. Instead of ALL of us buying presents for EVERYONE, all the adults donate R50 (or more if you like) to a predetermined charity (Check out The Trust locally or internationally for an easy way to make donations as gifts). Kids still get presents, but it's really stupid to spend so much money on presents for everyone. Do you really need that latest bestseller, or a new pair of socks (actually, I do) but still, can't you just buy that for yourself? There are people out there that can't even read and have never owned socks. Who do you think needs your compassion and charity more? It's a no-brainer. 

If you're still not convinced, maybe read what the Dalai Lama has to say about true success and happiness:

I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success in life.
It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act. There are two aspects to action. One is to overcome the distortions and afflictions of your own mind, that is, in terms of calming and eventually dispelling anger. This is action out of compassion. The other is more social, more public. When something needs to be done in the world to rectify the wrongs, if one is really concerned with benefitting others, one needs to be engaged, involved. - Dalai Lama

1 comments for this post


I can in this totally acculturated to indulgence world we've created why: 1. Few have sought to answer the question, and 2. Why trying to focus on giving to the less fortunate ends up a bummer for most.

I wont ask the question why the Christian community fails to second D.L.'s philosophy. However, in deference to truth, Old D. L. has survived on charity all his life. It's understandable why he'd like that particular human paradigm remain.

Happy holiday to you and yours. You're on the right track, but not yet electable.

John Newman

Posted on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 10:57:00 PM GMT+2  

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