First came Black Friday, then Cyber Monday and, earlier this week, Green Monday.
By JENEÉ OSTERHELDT
The Kansas City Star
These sales are sending us straight into a self-indulgent holiday. Discounts are fun, I know. But as you trim your trees and wrap your gifts, be thankful.
There are so many who dont even have a home to celebrate the holidays. There are kids in our city who go hungry. Gifts are something they only imagine. In Kansas and Missouri, nearly 1 in 4 children live in poverty. Yes, that many.
Im not shaming anyone for enjoying the fruits of their labors. Theres nothing wrong with that. Just know that it feels good to give back, too. I mean this is the season when the giving gets easy.
Salvation Army bell ringers collect money in front of grocery stores, and big brands like MAC cosmetics and Philosophy offer specialty products that give 100 percent to charities.
And gift drives are everywhere, like the one hosted by RUBIES Inc. (Realizing yoUr Best in Every Situation). Thursday is the last day for the nonprofits drop-off sites, like the Urban League, 1710 Paseo. They are collecting toys, gloves and hats. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, the group hosts its 3rd Annual Unwrap a Gift Holiday Extravaganza at Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd St. They expect to provide 300 families with Christmas presents.
You can get in on the joys of spreading holiday cheer, too:
Operation Breakthrough. Greeting card season is in full effect, so why not buy a set that gives back to Kansas Citys children? At Operation Breakthrough, a nonprofit providing social services and early childhood education in the urban core, kids help make cards every year. A set of eight is $10. All proceeds go back to the organization. OperationBreakthrough.org
Rose Brooks Holiday Store. Since youre out shopping anyway, pick up an extra gift for the women, children and pets displaced by domestic violence. The Rose Brooks Holiday Store at Ward Parkway Center, 8600 Ward Parkway, is open through Wednesday. Check out the wish list at RoseBrooks.org.
Boulevard KC Pils. Buying beer is even better when it goes to better places than just your belly. Boulevard Brewing Co. donates 10 percent of the revenue from KC Pils to a variety of hometown nonprofits, like the American Jazz Museum and KC Care. Boulevard.com
Beer Paws. And what better way to celebrate that beer than with a special bottle opener? BeerPaws.com makes specialty bottle openers that connect to dog collars and key rings. You can also buy wine stoppers, bottle sweaters and cute collars. A portion of every sale benefits local animal welfare groups. But through December, if you purchase Beer Paws at Belle Epoque, 1518 Walnut, 100 percent of the money will go to KC Pet Project.
Sock 101. Getting socks for Christmas is actually trendy this year, as long as theyre stylish. Through Dec. 20, Sock 101 will donate one pair of socks to City Union Mission for every two pairs purchased. Sock101.com
Another way to help City Union Mission is to head down to the Port Fonda x Baldwin Denim Christmas party Thursday night from 5 to close, 4141 Pennsylvania. Drink, be merry and raise money for the homeless.
Red Dirt Shop. Smartphones have their own wardrobe these days, so phone cases make for perfect presents. At Red Dirt Shop, not only do local artists design the cases, but the money helps impoverished communities construct sustainable water systems. Last week, Red Dirt Shop presented Water.org with its first donation: $5,000. RedDirtShop.com
Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive. Buy a book for a friend and another for a tot. Area Barnes & Noble stores are hosting book drives that benefit local Head Start preschools and Reach Out and Read literacy program. BarnesAndNoble.com
Check-Out Hunger. Harvesters, Kansas Citys food bank, makes it easy for us all to help feed hungry people during the holidays. Through Jan. 5, Hy-Vee, Price Chopper, Hen House and Cosentinos give you the chance to scan $1, $5, $10 or $20 donation coupons at the check-out counter. For a full list of participants, go to Harvesters.org