I’m a two-bird, one-stone kinda shopper during the holidays. I like to make that list, check it a-neurotically-bizarre-number of times, and then shop Shop SHOP! Online shopping was made for people like me.
But, becoming a mamma has softened my checklist-wielding self a whole lot. My daughter is beginning to understand that the holidays are a special time of year. I want her to grow up with warm and beautiful holiday memories of us giving back to our loved ones, to our community, and to our world.
My list-making side says “there’s no time for that! Get out the laptop while she’s napping and order all your gifts from Indigo, like last year! Hurrrrrrry!”
My do-gooding side says “there are so many ways you want to help others. The holidays are a time to teach your daughter to do the same.”
And, my anxious side is worried that the “for good” gifts, like an acre of rainforest, will mean forced smiles come Christmas morning.
Thank goodness I can end this Freudian tug-of-war. I really can have it all this year. Efficiency, empathy, and an actual gift my giftees will love, all wrapped up in little gift card envelopes
(*Family and friends spoiler alert: Pretend that you are opening your gifts now, ‘cause you kinda are*).
Put simply, FlipGive is an online fundraising platform that lets people turn holiday gift-giving into a fundraising opportunity. By setting up a Shop Smart holiday fundraiser, people earn up to 50% back while they and their friends shop for holiday gifts from great retailers. All in support of causes that touch their hearts.
Very little. This is me setting up our family’s Shop Smart holiday fundraiser:
Looks pretty stressful, yes? It took me no more than 5 minutes.
1. Choose: Choose a retailer to create your fundraiser around, and choose the cause your family wants to support. Any school, sports team, church, club, or community group can use FlipGive to raise money.
2. Create: Create your fundraising page in minutes. Up to 50% of every purchase goes back to your cause of choice. The percentage depends on which retailer and which package you pick.
3. Invite/Include: Have your family and friends ALSO do their shopping through your fundraising page to help support your cause. We loves us some healthy competition in our house, so talk a little smack if you need to motivate your shopping-team!
4. Sell/Buy: FlipGive provides the tools to help promote your cause and remind people that they can shop AND give back at the same time.
5. Receive: In the case of our campaign a direct donation will be made at the end of the fundraising period.
The result: Your friends and family get great gifts. Your cause gets some dough. And you get to do it all in your pajamas.
Couldn’t be more simple.
Not sure what kind of Shop Smart holiday fundraiser you want to set up? Don't panic. You can simply shop in support of an existing cause, community, school or sports team that is actively fundraising on the FlipGive platform.
You will wish you were Oprah-rich when you see the incredible catalogue of worthwhile causes you can shop to support. Your holiday purchases will trigger corporate donations that buy books for schools with empty library shelves, or build a better local daycare.
I’m giving you a licence to overspend and feel great about it.
In our family’s holiday traditions, we light the menorah, eat latkes, (lovingly) argue about and choose a Christmas tree, bake, and visit our Dugger-sized immediate families. We play an uber-competitive present game on Christmas Eve, and open our gifts together in the morning. We laugh. We hug. We spoil the babies. It is bliss.
I love our traditions, and that they are growing along with our little girl. This is the year we begin the tradition of buying presents which give back — twofold.
So I’m armed and ready with my list, my clipboard, my tea, and my computer…
I’m ready to shop smart — with a little extra heart.
I hate the “honey-do” list. I have a strong negative emotional reaction to the idea of telling my husband what MAN JOBS need to be done around the house.
Taking out the garbage, changing the light bulbs, hanging the floating shelves. I can and will do ‘em all.
As much as possible, we strive for domestic equality in our house.
I’m a modern woman who can use the drill and level as well as any man of my generation — and even better than my husband (Yeah. I’m a boss like that. Proof below).
Am I a feminist? A pragmatist? Maybe they’re the same thing in many ways.
Today’s moms are taking a different approach to domestic duties than their mothers or grandmothers did.
How does this relate to the “honey-do” list? It’s simple: The honey-do list needs to come into the 21st Century. It needs a feminist revolution. Here you go, and you’re welcome.
The list is simple. Each weekend, we divide a paper into four sections:
Any jobs that are to be done at home, go in the “in” column, while errands go in the “out” column.
A populated list might look like this:
Throughout the weekend, each of us work through the list at our own pace, with a very healthy dose of competition.
Why do we like the newly named “Four-Square To-Do List?”
It’s a great visual organizer.
It’s collaborative and competitive.
And it’s equal.
I won’t pretend to be tackling pay equity, or promoting greater representation of women in government with this post. But, I am certainly creating greater harmony in our home with this list.
How is domestic labour divided in your house?
In our tech-driven, efficiency-obsessed world there is one thing about the holidays I still don’t mind taking the time to do right: sending written cards.
I know. It’s crazy. Sending e-cards can be almost as gorgeous as the real thing. They can save you time, they can save you money, and they can save your sanity during a busy season.
So, why do it?
It’s the same reason we still build bonfires when we have the option to turn on the furnace.
The same reason we tinker to find the ideal recipe when we can just order in.
It is the reason that we still choose the perfect picture book at a local store instead of downloading the same content on our iPad.
There is a warmth, elegance, and human-connection that come along with a written holiday card which cannot yet be matched with an electronic one. The holidays are all about connecting—at a slower pace—and this teeny gesture is how I choose to say, “I’m really thinking about you and your family.”
If not, head to Paperless Post and get yourself the best electronic card you can. Bam. You’re done!
If you’re in agreement about sending real holiday cards, then your next steps are:
1) START NOW.
If you are ordering your cards online, you will need to do that as soon as possible. The options are limitless. I could spend (errr…have spent) hours browsing the amazing holiday card options that are only a click away.
Shutterfly or Costco or Shoppers Drug Mart or Vistaprint are all great options if you want to put a family photo on the card. There are a range of prices you will pay per card, so make sure you check your subtotals carefully before you check out!
This cool "Merry Everything" card is a Shutterfly pick.
For non-photo and in-person card purchases, there is less urgency. For example, you may want to start with the Dollar Store. You can also support UNICEF by purchasing some amazing cards from their website.
Either way, where you purchase is going to be dictated by how many cards you are sending. You won’t know that until you…
2) MAKE A LIST.
If possible, start with an existing list.
Your wedding guest list is a great place to begin. Oh, you don’t have a good list of close family, friends, and colleagues you say? Well, you’re in luck. You will after this year.
Putting a master list into Excel allows you to create and print your mailing labels. Despite what uptight and out-of-date etiquette might say, printing your labels is okay—especially if you are mailing more than twenty-five cards.
Save this list somewhere you will be able to access it easily next year.
3) CHECK IT. TWICE.
It can be pretty insulting to receive a card with your name spelled wrong. Or the name of your significant other’s ex in place of your name. Do your due-diligence and check the spelling of your contacts’ names before you ink the card/envelope.
4) TEAM WORK FTW!
Work with your significant other to create and edit your list. This can be a fun activity! Ok, who am I kidding? Working together on the list ensures that you both know who the cards were sent to, so that you don’t have the awkward “We forgot to send a card to great, Great Aunty Myrna!” The husband and I had some issues with this one last year. We have (*fingies crossed*) ironed it out this year.
5) GET YOUR SUPPLIES.
To successfully set up your card workshop/assembly line, you will need or want:
6) Magic Mail Date.
I like my cards to arrive early-to-mid December, so I shoot for putting them in the mail the 1st of December at the latest. Re-adjust your timing if you are sending cards across the country or internationally.
Also, there is an awesome free Canada Post app for those of us with a smartphone full of addresses but not time to sit down and address cards, which can be used to create cards and address and mail them in one stop. Who knew bureaucracy could be so cool?
I am well on my way to sending a big batch of cards to family and friends this year. Some of the recipients live across the globe, and many live right around the corner. No matter how far these little pieces of paper and ink travel, they carry with them a very important message we don’t hear enough: "We took the time to say, 'You’re worth the time.'"