So ... Christmas is a few days away, but you're still at work counting the hours till Friday afternoon.
You've done about all the online Xmas shopping you can at this point without the Big Man in the Corner Office (BMCO) noticing ... but you're bored.
Here's an idea. Shop for some charities.
In case you've been sleeping under a rock somewhere, the holidays are considered the "season of giving." Season meaning now. Giving meaning cash.
A few years ago, we started a tradition of saving up all those charity come-ons that we receive in the mail over the course of the year, and digging them out the week of Christmas. We choose a handful of them, and we give whatever we can.
That's the thing about giving ... it doesn't matter if it's $5 or $500, charities are always grateful, and they need help more than ever with the ever-decreasing contributions of our federal government.
Look around the local coffee shop, check the paper, or ask a friend if you need some ideas from your very own neighborhood. In case you're looking for a few suggestions, however, here are some that might work out:
Lance Armstrong Foundation : Say what you want about those yellow wristbands, but Lance has done great things here.
American Cancer Society : It could be you. It could be me. It could be a good friend. But cancer is something we're all going to have to deal with at some point.
The Jimmie Heuga Center : He shared the Olympic podium with Buddy Werner and Pepi Stiegler, and now he helps families living with MS learn how to minimize the impact of the disease through exercise and lifestyle changes.
National MS Society: The point man for batting MS. Don't underestimate the importance of battling multiple sclerosis.
Northwest Medical Teams : This is the group that sent a team of doctors (including my father-in-law) to help after the Tsunami, after the New Orleans hurricane, and after the Pakistani earthquake.
Amnesty International : In case you haven't noticed, human rights are on the slide both at home and abroad. These guys take it head on.
The Conservation Alliance: Founded by Kelty, Patagonia, the North Face and REI back in the day, today's Alliance is a force in conservation.
The Natural Resources Defense Council : The Natural Resources Defense Council: These guys are fighting the conservation fight the old fashioned way ... by suing people.
Leave No Trace: The best defense is a good offense, and LNT does just that by encouraging "responsible, non-motorized outdoor activities with minimal impact on public recreational areas." Love it.
Trout Unlimited: For over 35 years, Trout Unlimited has been America's leading trout and salmon conservation organization. If you fish, and you're not a TU member, you're lame.
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail The Northern Forest Canoe Trail: A personal favorite, this group is working to establish and conserve a historic 740 mile water trail through New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine.