What I Really Want for Christmas

Each year, around this time, friends and business partners start sending presents to my office. The reception desk gets covered with tins of candy, boxes of cookies, sometimes a few bottles of wine. It’s all very nice. But what I’d really like is a flock of chicks or maybe somehoneybees.

Let me explain what I mean. I’m touched that people think to send holiday treats. It’s a fun tradition. My team at the office always looks forward to the flavored popcorn that one of our partners sends every year. So I don’t want to sound ungrateful or deprive my colleagues of caramel corn.

But I can’t help thinking that the money spent on these gifts could go to people who need it more than I do.

For example you might know about Heifer International, a non-profit that lets you buy an animal for a family in need. Send Heifer $30 and someone gets honeybees. $120 buys a pig. There are lots of other options too.

You can even give an animal or other donation in someone else’s name. So if you’re looking for a gift to send your clients and partners this year, you could donate to a group like Heifer on their behalf. They will get a card acknowledging your gift. They’ll have to go get their own cookies, but on the bright side, they will know that your generosity in their name really helped someone.

Heifer is part of a project that Melinda and I are supporting this year called Giving Tuesday. The idea is to take one day out of your holiday shopping and dedicate it to giving back. The Giving Tuesday web site lists lots of great organizations that need your support. (Although Giving Tuesday falls on December 3, you can donate any time.) Melinda and
I have posted our list of four groups that we think are especially effective, including Heifer, but there are many others to choose from. If you run a non-profit, becoming a partner with Giving Tuesday could be a great way to connect with new donors.

I’d encourage you to check out the groups taking part in Giving Tuesday. You could help them make a tangible difference in someone’s life, which is just about the best gift any of us could ask for.

Posted by:Bill GatesBill Gates

  • Syed Nizamul Malik
    Syed Nizamul Malik

    Supply Chain and Logistics Professional

    I am really impressed with the contents in this article. This is impressive that one of the richest person in the World feel like this. Alas! the billionaires in poor or developing countries shall take a lesson from him. Most of the money these people accumulate by corruption deposit in the European or North American Banks. They buy there expensive properties out of this money and rest invest in foreign banks but they never like to spend a single penny on their poor country men.This is really a tragedy. When we shall learn in these countries that honesty is a good thing. When these people will learn to share their wealth with the deprived ones. Here I would like write a quotation by Pope that “An honest man is the noblest work of God” God bless you Bill Gate

  • Patti Taylor
    • Patti Taylor

      Independent Consultant

      Syed – it is part of American culture to give to the needy. If our government would stay out of our business we would be able to give more. For instance a law here that will not allow us to give food to the hungry. Crazy right? The US is the most generous of all countries on humanitarian issues world wide and will continue to be so until we cannot or are not allowed to be generous because of some stupid law.

    • Christopher Singleton
      Christopher Singleton

      Scientist at Momenta Pharmaceuticals

      I don’t think this is relegated to the very wealthy. I have a regular career and have often felt that there is too much of a focus on material things and ‘stuff’ anyway, at almost all income levels. Once you fulfill all of your needs and a few of your wants, extra possessions don’t do much for you (at least in my case). If we opt to give to those in need in lieu of getting gifts, the opportunity and benefit that someone gets will often last much longer than the material gift we would have received.

  • S.Seshadri Srinivasan
    S.Seshadri Srinivasan

    Founder CEO at XLOG Technologies & Consulting

    You give because you have , you give because you want to , you give because you have to , you give because you can .. all these are not giving, but you give because they need. you give because they don’t have, and you give because you are given with. Giving is immortal only if you keep giving in need. that is humane, But above all , to make others think good about giving is divine.That’s what Mr. Bill Gates is doing, Salute to him.

    • Verneata Byrd
      Verneata Byrd

      Entrepreneur, Business Development, Sales/Marketing Leader

      There are still homeless, folks without jobs so there is much more that can be done.

  • David Jennings
    David Jennings

    Multi-disciplined, experienced professional well versed in finance and computer systems. Seeking new challenges

    Having been a recipient of chickens and ducks donated to people in need, it is really heartwarming to know that a couple of families somewhere in the world are able to take steps out of a cycle of poverty on their own. If we are honest, we all have much more stuff than we really need. The holiday season is the perfect time to be thankful for what we already have and think about how really privileged we are. We can give out of our abundance to those whose lives can be changed by a small flock of chickens or a cow. Give to Heifer and to the other organizations Bill recommends. Giving a gift in someone’s name will bless you, the person in whose name you give it, and the family who can see a new future by receiving it. What can be better than that?

    • Pather (Thasegan)
      Pather (Thasegan)

      Quality Assuror at Nedbank

      Why is it that people with a surplus need to be motivated by a “blessing” before they give to those that have nothing. Surely a number of you that have this surplus must have started with nothing and so must realise the pleasure of giving without want.

  • Meg Green
    Meg Green

    CEO of Meg Green & Associates

    I have been giving goats for years through Heiffer International……not only does it feed, emancipate and empower the poorest families, it teaches wonderful lessons about giving, and all of our children and grandchildren need to learn those lessons early on. So here’s to a goat or bees or cows or whatever for Hannukah or Xmas. It’s the best gift you can give.. Thanks Bill for the reminder.

  • Chris Seminatore
    Chris Seminatore

    Chris Seminatore – Digital Marketing Professional

    Really good stuff… Brings back into play what the holidays are truly all about.


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