Making Sense of the Holidays
- Shannon Simrell, ECOLOGIA Staffer
Four years ago, when the Virtual Foundation became a reality, I was
sifting through my Christmas list, wondering why I hadn't caught "the
holiday spirit." I decided to simplify: I handmade presents for
those closest to me and weeded those I felt "pressured" to give gifts to
off of my list. Surely now I could experience the true meaning of the
season! Instead, I felt a little empty...
My $30 donation to a Lithuanian Peat Bog project was spontaneous. I
hadn't planned to spend the money.
Yet, I was thrilled, satisfied. I had done something meaningful, free of
retail store shopping and the threat of gift escalation. Even more
importantly, I gave a group of people that I'd never met before
the perfect gift - the chance to revitalize an ancient peatbog in rural
Lithuania so that small, forest birds could have a place to mate and
raise their young. Doesn't that beat a sweater!
The next year I sponsored several months of email access in Tadjikistan for a
community center. Not only did matching funds double my donation, my
gift will grow as it is passed along to an entire region of people.