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DS is asking everyone not to buy him christmas gifts and to give money to charity.

(71 Posts)
Illgetmycoat Sun 11-Nov-12 23:09:16

What would you do? He is 11 and has declared for the past 12 months that he is vegetarian and (just recently) buddhist. I am a meat eating atheist and a deep believer in the magic of Christmas. He is bonkers, but I love him.

I think he means it. He is suggesting WWF and Water Aid.

Or would you say he is too young and ignore what he says, because he will be gutted on Christmas day? Or do we go for it?

StuntGirl Mon 12-Nov-12 00:08:18

Why wouldn't you do what he asks hmm He sounds wonderful.

NymphadoraTonks Mon 12-Nov-12 02:06:53

Another idea, if your son is up to, it is

You can open an "account" and deposit money, then lend that money to people in need to help them out.

For example I recently loaned $25 to a woman in Kenya who needed money to buy Onion and Spice seeds. She bought the seeds, grew them and sold them at market and a month or 2 later we got the $25 back in our account, to either lend again or withdraw.

That way your son can help lots of different people and chose his exact good cause and if he ever needs the money, he can withdraw it back once they have repaid their "loan"

MollyMurphy Mon 12-Nov-12 02:47:10

I did this one Christmas when I was young too.....admittedly it was a ploy to be so giving that I'd get even more gifts.

SoI'd get him gifts as per usual and maybe have him pick out a charity that he'd like to give a contribution too....perhaps giving away some old toys etc. It would be a shame if he regretted his generosity on Christmas morning and he has so few Christmases left before he's a teenager.

sashh Mon 12-Nov-12 03:36:34

Another vote for Kiva here, I have a 'revolving' $25 that has help a ladies dairy cooperative in Pakistan, supported a marketstall holder in Peru, aided a business in Egypt and is currently paying university fees for a young man in Ghana. The last one will obviously not be paying money back soon so I think I'll add another $25.

It's really a nice way to help people as you get to chose who to help, male, femal, individual or group, by geographical location and you get updates.

I also second the getting him some fair trade / charity items.

cozietoesie Mon 12-Nov-12 06:43:58

What a lovely DS. I'd also agree with setting up an account with a microfinancing organisation. You put in the money. Only you can get it out because it's essentially your account, but your DS can choose his financing and see how the recipient is doing with regular emails/visiting the site.

I don't know kiva (will be looking later today) but I already microfinance through lendwithcare. I happen to have talked with their people and know that they're a lean and mean organisation with regard to admin costs.


exoticfruits Mon 12-Nov-12 06:49:20

He sounds lovely- I would definitely go with it. You can still have a few novelty surprise bits.

MadameCreeper Mon 12-Nov-12 07:22:31

You could sponsor an animal for him, they're quite nice because you get the updates and learn further about the charity. I've heard arguments against the Sponsored Child ones, so you may want to read up about them.

MrsCantSayAnything Mon 12-Nov-12 07:30:07

Bless him! What a special kid...he sounds like a proper free thinker.

I also, would give him the money and let him do the donating. As well as a stocking. If he complains about you spending on a stocking you can say it was your pleasure.

HollyMadison Mon 12-Nov-12 07:37:30

Respect his wishes and get the charity gifts. Give him his bits and pieces in his stocking. Congratulations on raising a lovely boy x

Snazzyfeelingfestive Mon 12-Nov-12 07:45:23

He could pick from something like the Good Gifts catalogue too where they have lots of exciting sounding things- I am getting a friend a disease-detecting rat for a community this year! Plus they have lots of little gifts for a fiver so other family members could easily get him stuff from that. He could send Christmas cards for Amnesty too - maybe that's something you could do together that would feel Christmassy? Be very proud, he sounds great.

EugenesAxe Mon 12-Nov-12 07:50:17

No I'd treat his wishes with respect. If he gets upset about it it'll teach him not to be something he isn't, and to give clear messages.

I would get him a stocking if he has siblings who will be getting one, just so he can join in that fun cameraderie you get when opening a stocking in the early hours.

Illgetmycoat Mon 12-Nov-12 07:58:05

Thank you everyone. SO many ideas.

Mousefunk I only mean that he is bonkers in that he does things like apologise to sheep and tells them not to worry, because he is a vegetarian.I meant bonkers bonkers, not bonkers in his beliefs! grin

cozietoesie Mon 12-Nov-12 08:00:35

One of the good things about microfinance lending, as sashh mentioned, is that you can 'revolve' your lending amount. When one loan is paid off, hopefully, you can go on to loan to someone else. So if you put money into a microfinance lending account (not a straight gift) it can go on in theory for years with your DS involved on a regular basis.

Also - if any of the relatives cut up rough about giving him money and it being used in that way - you can always take it back out once the loan is repaid. So in theory, the money is not 'gone' and if DS were, say, to decide that he wanted it back to do something else, you could take the credit in your account back again.

Not saying you should do that by the way (I've written off from my accounts the money I have out on loan) but it is a back thought if anyone has issues with the concept.


sashh Mon 12-Nov-12 08:02:25


I now have an urge to send your son a filled shoe box, for him to get Xmas day.

And I don't even celebrate Christmas.

Lesbeadiva Mon 12-Nov-12 08:02:30

He sounds brilliant!

jendot Mon 12-Nov-12 08:23:33

Thanks for the kiva link. I have just sent $25 to a small business in Sierra Leone.
What a brilliant idea.

PinkFairyDust Mon 12-Nov-12 08:32:32

You can also get bags made out of cement sacks and the money goes back into thr charity....have googled but can't find the link would that be an idea perhaps?

fuzzpig Mon 12-Nov-12 08:44:28

He sounds lovely smile

I would get him a stocking too, making sure they are all sourced ethically.

TeddyBare Mon 12-Nov-12 08:48:35

He sounds lovely. Please don't let him hear that you think he's bonkers. I'd donate almost all of his Christmas gift but still buy one token gift like a bonsai tree or something or a nice (ethically sourced) stocking.

diffo Mon 12-Nov-12 10:31:16

What I would do is buy him some gifts anyway, keep the receipts. Christmas morning present him with the money. If he seems gutted throughout the day, ask him if he regrets his decision. If so, bring out the gifts. If not, take the gifts back to the shops for refunds.

2rebecca Mon 12-Nov-12 10:38:06

I'd do something like an Action Aid sponsorship
You get stuff twice a year from a child you sponsor to make it seem personalised although the money goes to their whole community not just them.
Like others I suspect you will end up buying him some stuff during the year that he would have got for xmas so if money is tight I'd keep some in reserve.
I'd tell relatives what he has asked for and leave it up to them.

2rebecca Mon 12-Nov-12 10:39:07
forgot to tick the box. Why can't mumsnet automatically convert links?

honeytea Mon 12-Nov-12 10:39:26

He sounds like a really lovely you g man! Id defiantly donate on his behalf, maybe you could also get him some vegetarian cook books so he has something to open on the day.

The planet earth series is amazing, my brother bought it for me last year, it covers some of the environmental issues maybe her enjoy a box set of that smile

Jen547 Mon 12-Nov-12 10:44:31

Some animal charities do Xmas gift packages where u adopt an endangered animal on behalf of someone. They get a cuddly toy and info on their animal and updates as well. This may be a nice compromise as he will be doing something for charity but will have a gift to open and get excited about as well.

FireOverBabylon Mon 12-Nov-12 10:46:48

Buy him a goat / water purification / school place in Africa from Oxfam.

Unicef also do something similar - we bought my sil measels vaccinations in Africa one year because we'd just had a baby and she'd just been on holiday there. There was nothing material she wanted, so we gave the donation on her behalf. Doing something like this, at least your DS knows what his money was spent on.

You could also buy him some fairtrade bits for his stocking, as the money will be going to support the community who made them.

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