What do you think about this Christmas charity game?

For some reason, I am getting totally “Scrooge-y” in my old age and am really tired of trading stupid $10 gifts with my dad’s family every Christmas. Half of us are dead broke and the other half has more stuff than they know what to do with.

I have no interest in spending $10 on a bauble for my grandma (who proudly proclaimed “Oh, I don’t need anything!” when I drew her name) and also have no interest in getting a $10 piece of junk to collect dust in my house. (see? Bah! Humbug!)

But Mom insists we do this stupid gift exchange because “grandpa likes it and he’s really old.” I don’t think he really does. He’s cheaper than I am. Everyone’s convinced that eating a huge meal together and just spending time talking does not a Christmas get-together make (which is weird because my grandparents are TOTALLY religious. Shouldn’t we be churching?).

Me, I’d much rather forego the presents and take the $110 worth of crap gifts and turn it into a $110 donation to a charity. At first I said we should just let Grandpa pick a nice religious charity and call it a day. But Mom insists we need a “game” for Christmas.

So, to honor the “so we have something to do on Christmas,” I want to offer up this game:

  • Pick a charity, any charity, that you think we should donate to. Charity Navigator is a good place to look - but not an “obvious” charity that would be linked to you (for example, I am a huge doggy freak so I couldn’t choose the Humane Society and my nature-obsessed uncle couldn’t choose the World Wildlife Foundation)

  • Write down the name of your charity on a piece of paper, and a short blurb on why you think our family should donate to this charity. Put it in an envelope along with $10. Write the name of the charity on the front.

  • Grandpa collects all of the envelopes and reads the “blurbs” out loud.

  • Everyone votes on who they think wrote each note. They also vote on which charity should get the money. Since all of the charity names are written on the envelopes, I can hand out slips like this:
    MENNONITE RELIEF FUND: ______________
    WORLD WILDLIFE ORG: _______________
    HUMANE SOCIETY: ___________________
    UNITED WAY: _________________
    etc etc
    BEST CHARITY: _______________

  • For every “correct” vote (when a person matches the correct “writer” with the charity), the charity gets one point. For every “best charity” the charity gets 2 points.

  • The charity with the most points gets the family money that year. Someone would collect the money and write a check.

  • A little prize goes to the person with the LEAST correct votes (say no one guessed that Grandma chose the Ethiopian Relief Fund). This would urge people to be as stealthy as possible when writing their “charity description” and make it a more fun game.

It’s sort of like the “dictionary game” - where you have to guess which person wrote which definition of an obscure word - which my family likes. Plus we get to learn more about different charities, or even more about our family members.

And I also end up feeling like my $10 went to something decent, not a piece of junk that no one wants.

What do you guys think? I want this game to revolutionize boring, meaningless gift exchanges all over! Woohoo!

Sounds cool enough. Well, as long as no-one is likely to suggest a charity that is completely unacceptable to anyone else - a pro-life charity if you have prochoicers around, that sort of thing.

That really does sound cool, ZipperJJ. Maybe I’ll suggest that to my family next year. This year we’re doing a Yankee* gift exchange for the adults.

*Also know as Chinese gift exchange and probably a few other names I don’t know.