1. Plantsters. (This was a tiny plastic greenhouse that could grow tiny little plants right inside your room! I was elated.)
2. A Lakers Basketball. (I didn't really play basketball as a kid. Nor did I like the Lakers. But we saw this at a sporting goods store and I thought that the purple and gold colors were really pretty.)
3. A Jar Of Jellybeans. (Every year, my parents would buy me my own giant jar of jellybeans from Costco. Each day I would carefully ration out those jellybeans and suck on each one to try and make them last as long as possible.)
4. A Gloworm. (Do you remember Gloworms? Those little plastic worm dolls whose faces lit up when you hugged them? I slept with that thing every night.)
5. A Powerwheels Jeep. (One magical Christmas Eve, my grandparents unveiled a Jeep that all of the grandkids could play with when we visited. This may have been the best Christmas ever.)
If you're currently constructing your Christmas list and want to add some gifts that will have an even more significant impact on someone's life than a Gloworm, I encourage you to check out the gift catalogues from World Vision and Samaritan's Purse. They have a plethora of gifts you can buy for people in need all over the world. You can do it yourself, make it a family project, or even involve your entire church or community. Here are a few of my favorites:
Small Business Loan For A Woman: This is truly a gift that keeps on giving. For $100, you can help an impoverished woman start or expand a business. Then as loans are repaid, the funds provide new loans to others.
Build A House For A Family In Need: Samaritan's Purse provides homes for victims of natural disasters all over the world and they can build a simple, 500 square foot home for only $7500. You can share in the cost for $15.
Help Stock A Fish Pond: $50 will stock a pond with 500 baby fish or shrimp and provide nourishment and extra income for rural communities worldwide.
28 Farm Animals: That's right. 2 sheep, 2 cows, 2 goats, 2 pigs, and 20 chickens! This carnival of animals will help up to 10 families and provide a lasting source of income and food. This is a $2000 gift and could be a great project for an entire children's ministry. Hmmm, that gives me an idea.
Water Filters: I love this gift. It costs just $100 for Samaritan's Purse to install a water filter that requires no chemicals or electricity and lasts a lifetime. What a simple and practical way to improve the health of an entire family.
Year Of School For An Orphan: Children who have lost their parents to AIDS are unable to stay in school because they can't afford fees and supplies. For $70, you can provide essentials like school supplies, a uniform, and school fees.
Seeds: Farming families in countries like Thailand and Zambia struggle to raise enough food because the seeds they use may be of poor quality or they might not be able to afford seeds at all. $17 supplies a family with fast growing hybrid or drought-resistant seeds for crops like carrots, cabbage, peas, and onions.
Transform The Life Of A Child: Club feet, cleft lip, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, polio, blindness, and deafness can sometimes mean a life without education, employment or dignity for children around the world. Samaritan's Purse helps thousands of kids by providing reconstructive surgery, wheelchairs, orthopedic devices, therapy, and special education. $20 helps support this amazing ministry.
Malaria Prevention For One Family: Malaria kills nearly a million children and adults each year. $20 bed nets to protect one family's children and pregant mothers as they sleep, plus education for malaria prevention and control.