Every year I write a very detailed Christmas list.  It’s listed in order of importance, and color-coded, and broken down by price and availability.  And every year my list is studiously ignored.  My mom is notorious for her (well-intentioned I’m sure) odd and off-base gifts.  Over the years I’ve received: paperweights, napkin rings, a flannel nightgown, figurines of bears, and miniature tea sets. 
And all I want is shoes, ya’ll.  Horribly impractical shoes.
So this year I’ve devised a full-proof plan.  To do good for others and boost my karma for the rest of the year.  I’m just asking for donations for my favorite charity:  Heifer International.
Not only does it have the best name ever, it’s a really great cause.  You can buy a heifer (or water buffalo, sheep, pig, flock of geese, camel, etc.) for a family in a developing country.  Heifer International’s approach is “giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out,” by helping them “improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways.” 
It’s an innovative and great idea, and you can read more about their work here.
Speaking of cow-themed gifts, maybe you should add 14 Cows for America to your Christmas list.  After witnessing the 9/11 attacks, a Maasai tribesman returns to Kenya and tells his people the story of the tragedy.  As an act of solidarity and sympathy, the tribe donates 14 cows to the people of America.  Visit the book website to learn more about Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah and his gift.