There’s nothing like moving to remind us of all the crap we own. Crap we don’t need. This is exactly where I find myself this holiday season. As I box up our belongings, I am struck by the stark fact of all the junk I have collecting dust. Yet, with the holidays upon us and the inevitable question, “What do you want for Christmas?” coming from loved ones, I am compelled to take a more selfless look at the now traditional binge shopping tied to the holidays. So what to do?
If, you, too are feeling the desire to give rather than receive, below is a list of literary-themed charities that would benefit from the money your sister was going to spend on that little something you’d probably never use. Because let’s face it, she never really got you in the first place. And after all, isn’t giving what the holidays are all about? If you’re all about gifts, why not give one that supports a worthy charity?
A book charity founded in 2008 by young adult author PJ Haarsma; actor and sci-fi nerd, Nathan Fillion; and Denise Gary (previously of the NathanNation). Kids Need to Read focuses on bringing reading materials to underfunded libraries, schools, and reading programs supplying a fundamental tool for building literacy skills for kids in disadvantaged communities.
In addition to monetary donations, you can help Kids Need to Read by purchasing their yearly wall calendar (no longer available). Every year, Kids Need to Read enlists artists to illustrate a beautiful and whimsical wall calendar. Each book-themed illustration further supports the charity’s cause of bringing reading material to disadvantaged kids. All proceeds go to Kids Need to Read. Wall calendars are no longer available, but you can purchase one of their wonderful art prints or The Little Flame Book.
Much like Child’s Play which supplies children’s hospitals and wards with games for the kids to play, Critical Care Comics brings – you guessed it – comic books. Their motto: “Making kids smile. . . if only for 28 pages.” You can contribute to this rocking charity by either giving a monetary donation or by gifting them old, unwanted comics.
Are you ready to have your heartstrings played like a guitar at a Phish concert? Well, you’re about to. This sweet little book is the product of 6-year-old Dylan’s attempt to raise money to help cure his best friend Johan’s rare liver condition, and he did a great job too. In just hours, Dylan sold 200 copies of his book, along with donated chocolate bars, and raked in $5,000 for charity. Not too shabby. To further support Dylan’s goal of finding a cure for GSD Type 1b, you can buy his heartfelt book here.
Some amazing folks on DeviantArt have devised a great way to give back by pooling their artistic talents for charitable purposes. Supporting the American Cancer Society, this art book features original, full-color artwork from over 30 artists. The book’s theme: Things That Make You Happy. Sometimes we get wrapped in the curveballs life throws us, and we need reminding of the good things that get buried in the shuffle. Sporting mostly Anime style artwork, this book will make a special gift for the manga nerd in your life.
In case you missed the beautiful book-themed benches that dotted the London landscape last year, look no further than this beautiful catalog. 100% of the £10 donation goes to the National Literacy Trust, which for the past 20 years has helped raise the literacy level of low-income areas in the UK. Catalogs are no longer available, but you can still give to this charity.
If you have been holed up for even a short number of hours or days, you know the value of a good book. Now imagine that going on for years, decades even. With the exception of low-income households and communities, inmates are one of the largest demographics in need of good reading material, and sometimes have little access to it due to budget constraints. Donating books is a great way to clean out your own shelves, and it’s also a great way to get your friends and family involved. If you’re throwing a holiday party, have each guest bring a book to donate. While the list of donation guidelines is lengthy, you’d be surprised what you can find lying around that the Prison Book Program could use.
Note: Dictionaries are always wanted.
Also from DeviantArt, this amazing art book features original, full-color pieces from over 70 talented artists. This charity art book supports Dreams Come True, a foundation bringing joy and fun to seriously and terminally ill children.
For the animal lover in your life, try out this wonderful selection of lovely mixed media art books. Originally, the proceeds went to the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade. They have now shifted to Sheltering Helpless Animals in Distress (SHAID), an animal shelter in Nova Scotia, Canada which helps rescue animals in dire straits and rehomes them to responsible owners. SHAID also has a fun 2017 calendar for sale.
So there’s my (very) short list of amazing charities to give to this holiday season. However, you don’t have to wait until the holidays to donate to a charity. They accept donations all year long.