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2018 Holiday Wishbook: Gifts from the heart

One of the best gifts of the holiday season – whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa – is donating to a local nonprofit. You can give to honor another or simply to more fully embrace the spirit of the season.

It’s the perfect gift for the person who seems to have everything or the recipient who says, “You really shouldn’t have.” Often, “You really shouldn’t have” actually means, “I don’t need one more trinket to dust.”

But who can say no to helping a child in need of medical care? St. Jude’s Hospital for Children gets a lot of love this time of year, but did you know that the children’s hospitals in our own community also are nonprofits that turn your gifts into critically needed research and care?

What grandparent, parent, teacher or favorite aunt or uncle wouldn’t want to be a Guardian of Childhood? A donation in their name to St. Louis Children’s Hospital can give them that honorary title.

Food pantries such as The Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry in Creve Coeur and Circle Of Concern in Valley Park rely on the generosity of the community to be able to provide food for those in need 365 days a year. Circle of Concern offers the opportunity to “adopt” a family and purchase the gifts on someone else’s wish list. It’s rewarding to imagine the joy that family will feel opening those gifts, but the need does not end when the holiday season does. A sustaining gift can keep the holiday spirit alive all year long.

Are the kids begging for a puppy this Christmas? Don’t shop. Adopt! Not only will it be a Christmas to remember for the whole family, it will be the best Christmas for your new four-legged companion.

Consider giving a gift that gives back, such as a gift membership to the St. Louis Zoo, the Science Center, the Missouri Botanical Garden or the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House. These are exceptional gifts for grandparents to give, especially if those giving the gift are able to enjoy the benefits of the membership with the child or family who receives it.

One of the best gifts you can give someone is your time. While the whole family is together during the holidays, suggest taking a couple hours out of the day and volunteering, or setting up times to volunteer once a month.

The holiday season is so much more than brightly wrapped packages under a tree, or the glow of a menorah or a kinara. After all, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are first and foremost celebrations of community.

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