For the Price of a Cup of Coffee
by Lilia Birney
Every year at Christmas time, I hear the same thing from non-profits and charitable organizations. “For the price of a cup of coffee, you can make a difference.” But I never really believed it. I never wanted to give so little. I figured that if I were going to increase my giving to charity, I needed to give in a BIG way. I thought that if I really were going to give a small donation, it would be somehow insulting to the recipient.
But this year is the first year that my daughter is really old enough to be aware of Christmas and it’s our first year of really struggling against the materialism that comes hand in hand with the season. I wanted to set an example for her, one that she might be able to really get and to follow. So, we decided to have “pizza parties for charity” every Friday night for the month of December.
It works like this: usually every Friday night, as a rule, we order two large pizzas and usually a few extras from our local pizza delivery. Then, we rent (or even purchase) a movie on Amazon to watch. The total usually tops out around $40 for the night. So, instead of ordering pizza from takeout, we choose a take and bake pizza from the grocery store (for around $5) and watch one of the movies we already have. Then, we would donate the remaining $35 to charity.
To choose the charity, each of us wrote the name of a charity on an index card. We folded them up and put them in a bowl. My daughter draws the name of that charity out on Friday morning, and all day we talk about how we are “eating for” that charity. Our first party was last Friday, and my daughter chose a tiger sanctuary. She is obsessed with tigers. So, all day we talked about how we were “eating for tigers.”
Then, that night, we looked at the tiger sanctuary’s website and “adopted” a Bengal tiger with our donation. In a few weeks, we’ll get an adoption certificate in the mail. It’s the most tangible way I can think of to show my daughter how to give more—to get something a little less big to give to others. And in a few weeks, she’ll get a certificate in the mail and a bunch of cool stuff all about tigers—more tangible proof of how her donation helped.
We tried it the first night and it’s amazing how excited we all were and how much fun we had. And we can’t wait until this Friday to do it all over again for a different charity. It may not make a huge difference to the charity of choice, but it has made a huge difference to our family. It’s like we’re seeing Christmas through new lenses!
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When Lady Penelope Annand’s trusted servant goes missing just before Christmas, she is determined to get to the bottom of the matter. Even if that means hiring a thief-taker to track down her maid’s whereabouts. But when the darkly smoldering Pierce Howe takes charge of the situation, Penelope finds herself growing more attracted to him by the second–even if she’s infuriated by his high-handed manner. Penelope gave up on Christmas wishes years ago when her first husband broke her heart, but could Pierce give her a second chance at love?Pierce Howe has made a name for himself as one of London’s most reliable thief-takers, leaving behind his family’s sordid past to create a life of his own. But when Viscountess Annand, known in society as The Ice Goddess, demands that he track down her wayward maid, he receives a Christmas gift he never expected–Penelope’s trust. His carefully-constructed defenses begin crumbling as they embark on a Christmas charade to find Penelope’s maid. As the Ice Goddess shows that she does indeed have a melting point, the thief-taker must decide if he can risk it all and tell her the truth about his past.
Lilia Birney on Twitter: @liliabirne