You knew it was the holidays when the Sears Catalog arrived. Back then, it felt like it was the only catalog. Fat, thick and loaded with colorful, happy images of families having a blast with all of their "stuff." My brothers and sisters would pour over that thing for days and weeks — dog earring and circling every toy and doodad we wanted for Christmas.
We loved to play the "page game" where one person got the left hand side and the other got the right. Flipping quickly, we would point out what we wanted and shout "mine" — then compare it to the gift they chose. We would dream of Christmas trees loaded with a sea of presents so thick, you couldn't even find your way to the bottom of it.
Now our mailboxes are so thick with catalogs, we are having a hard time finding the bottom of it. Recently, my friend Beth visited me. I saw the "Sears Catalog" look in her eye when she saw my pile. For Beth, she lives in a Winnebago and travels all over the United States for about 10 months of the year. Because she has her mail shipped to her wherever she is, she gets no catalogs. Before my eyes, she morphed into a 9 year-old girl dreaming up her wish list for Santa. It was more fun to watch her look at my catalogs than to look at them myself.
This holiday season, my wish is to choose gifts that change lives. I know that is not possible to do with everything. But unlike the Sears catalog, I want to give people something that has an echo effect, resonating for years to come. You don't have to look very far to find great gifts that help amazing causes. But the point is, you do have to look. My invitation is before you click "buy" or swipe that credit card, you will pause and wonder if you are giving a good gift. The good gift, the best gift is the one that changes the recipient for the better. And it's probably not found in a catalog.
If you are looking for a "good gifts" place to start: