Friday, 26 November 2010

No presents this Christmas please

At least, not donated to charity in my name:

While I do agree that a lot of rubbish changes hands over Christmas, I cannot get behind the ''a-donation-has-been-made-in-your-name'' gift. Let me see if I understand this correctly. I spent all the money that I wanted to on myself during the year but the money I was going to spend on a gift for you I gave to charity instead. And then I told you about it. Can it get any more parsimonious?

From Nikki Lesley in today's SMH.


Mikey Lynch said...

As if giving Christmas gifts makes that much rational sense either?

Indeed doesn't most charitable giving, to friends and family also involve strange thought experiments, similar to the charity gift card?

David McKay said...

Wednesday's SMH Money section may have a more acceptable variation on this.

The giver doesn't say "G'day Gordon. I've bought you a toilet in Botswana for Christmas," but "You have $25 of Karma Currency to spend on the charity of your choice."

Shame about the name, but I think I could enjoy this gift, if there were a charity to select whose cause I felt passionate about.

And, my Aunty has given me a variation on this, though I have to ensure I am complying with her wishes.

Aunty Ruth died at the age of 100 in October and, being a Christian single woman, left her entire estate to Christian missions, as her younger spinster sister had done.

As her executor I have about 150 thousand dollars to apportion to four Christian missions she has selected. I'm praying that I can fulfil her wishes, but also be creative.

Convinced? Or is Karma Currency just as bad?

Deb L said...

Hmmmmmmmmm, I don't know. I understand the issue about giving someone else a "gift" that isn't really for them but I have to say I LOVE being the receiver of such gifts. I would much rather miss out on another book I don't really want to read and have the pleasure of seeing that money go to someone who really needs it. We had the TEAR fund catalogue as our wedding gift suggestion and it brought us so much joy to know that our wedding was the cause of so much giving. I love it when people give "in my name". But I am very careful about who I give such gifts to - only people who have openly expressed a desire to get such "presents".

Nathan said...

I'm with Nikki, and with you, Gordon. By all means, give to charity on my behalf, but don't do it assuming that I wouldn't prefer you to put some thought into buying a gift for me.

Gordon Cheng said...

David: Karma currency is slightly less bad or slightly more sneaky, depending on how you turn it and hold it up to the light.

As for giving money when you've died, I think I like the idea of dying with none, having managed to time the giving perfectly to the hour of my departure! But that depends on the mercy and sovereignty of God, and your alternative is not a bad one.

It probably works better (if it works), when the recipient is voluntarily surrendering what's been given to them, like in Deb's example.

Secret giving is best of all, though, isn't it!

Deb L said...

The Age this morning tells me that the latest survey by the Australia Institute reveals that nearly four in five respondents would be happy with a donation to a charity in their name instead of a present. Seems I'm not alone then.

Narelle said...

Yep, give me the cash instead!