What I Want for Christmas

If my dad’s side of the family has instilled one value in me — apart from an appreciation of fart jokes, a lack of manners at the dinner table, and unconditional love for each other — it has to be the awareness of how fortunate we are.

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We all love each other, we all have a roof over our head…and, perhaps the most taken for granted of all, we all have food on our plates.

During many Christmases throughout the years, my Grandma and Papa have taken a moment amidst all of the frenzied gift opening to tell everyone to PIPE DOWN! and listen to them describe the gifts they were most proud of purchasing that year on behalf of the Hanzlik Family.

A flock of chicks, a heifer, two goats, three sheep…

In our earlier years, we were too preoccupied with our shiny new toys or matching gifts (Grandma used to go to Old Navy and buy the same fleece sweater or beanie for all 15+ of us, in varied colors and sizes…lol) for Grandma and Papa’s speech to really sink in. But somewhere in there, as I grew older (and wiser, and better looking 😉 ), I began to realize the importance in what my grandparents did every year.

Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

My grandparents love charities. But I’d venture to guess that Heifer International is my Grandma’s favorite.

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The basic premise of Heifer International is that, instead of donating money or food to a community in need, you should purchase an animal that will not only provide temporary sustenance for a family living in poverty, but will also provide an income and help them empower themselves to lift themselves up. But don’t take my word for it, Heifer explains why what they do is amazing much better than I do 😉

Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market.

When many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings and funding small businesses.

Many of you are probably like me and terribly unprepared in the Christmas present department. If you are still looking for a gift to give someone who is passionate about helping others, look no further than the catalog of animals on the Heifer website, which lists all the animals that are available to purchase and send to a family in need.

If I could give everyone I care about one ~figurative~ gift this year, it would be that they could all have someone in their life who is half as selfless and caring as my Grandma is. For all that she has faced in her 87-year long life, she has faced it with a smile on her face and the willingness and incredible ability to help every single person she meets. What I want for Christmas this year is that my Grandma’s devotion for helping others lives on. To me, her passion for this charity epitomizes the great person that she is, and I hope that you will join me in supporting them this holiday season and in the years to come.

Grandma, thank you for being my #1 blog follower, for inspiring me to crush my half marathon, and for calling my cell phone approximately 15 seconds after I crossed the finish line to congratulate me :) I love you so much.

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