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Water Changes Everything

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Take a moment to imagine your life without clean water. The thought is kind of hard to wrap your mind around, isn’t it? Well, for many folks, it’s a reality, as 663 million people on this planet [1 in 11!] do not have access to clean, safe water. But charity: water hopes to change that for the better.

On a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, charity: water has already funded more than 16,000 water projects in 24 countries since being founded in 2006! Water projects such as hand-dug and drilled wells, rainwater catchments, water purification systems, and more have brought clean water to 5.2 million people.

charity: water

When charity: water helps folks gain easy access to clean drinking water, many wonderful things happen in their community: health improves, medical expenses lower, equality is increased, girls get more time in school, and women are given the chance to grow food or earn income. How incredible is that? As charity: water’s slogan says, water changes everything.

charity: water

If you would like to get involved with this admirable organization, there are several ways to do so.

Give in Honour of a Loved One

For a more unique gift this Christmas, honour a loved one by making a donation to charity: water in their name. The recipient will receive a lovely card explaining your gift and charity: water’s mission. It’s a great present for the person who already has everything!

Purchase charity: water Goodies as Gifts

If you still have more Christmas shopping to do, consider purchasing some of the goodies from charity: water’s store to give to your family and friends. The profits from your purchase help fund charity: water’s operating costs and helps them grow, plus they offer some fun items! Here are a few of my favourites:

“Water Changes Everything” Tee
Pure Fix Cycles
Pure Fix Cycles
Votivo Candle
Votivo Candle

Volunteer Your Time

If you’re in the New York City area, you can volunteer to hand-write thank you notes, help out at special events, and more.

charity: water

Simply Donate

charity: water follows a 100% model, meaning that 100% of public donations funds clean water projects. They depend on private donors, foundations, and sponsors to cover salaries and other operating costs, so all of your donation will go directly to a water project! Click here to give a donation to support clean water around the world.

charity: water
Becky

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Category: Charities

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Etsy Item of the Day: Galaxy Gift Wrap

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Cover your gifts with colorful nebulas and twinkling stars so that you can give presents that are out of this world! I have one elfy friend in mind who I know would love to receive a gift in this galactic gift wrap. The paper comes in a set of 12 sheets, each one measures 13" x 19", which is perfect for wrapping small boxes.
Galaxy Gift Wrap

Etsy Seller: Poplar Print

Swimming in a Water Wonderland

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This holiday season, you can see ol’ Saint Nick dive into the deep and swim with the fishies at an aquarium near you. We’ve hand-picked a few locations around North America, but he may be making additional appearances, so contact an aquarium in your area to see if they are expecting Scuba Santa this Yuletide!

Birch Aquarium – La Jolla, CA

Birch Aquarium - La Jolla, CA

Scuba Santa will be visiting west coast folks when he makes a splash at the Kelp Tank Dive Shows at the Birch Aquarium. Not only can you seize the opportunity to see Scuba Santa, but your kids can also make a holiday craft on weekends. Here are the dates and times you can see the jolly old man from December 2, 2015–January 3, 2016: Tuesdays & Thursdays at 12:30pm; Saturdays at 2pm; Sundays at 10:30am. (Closed on December 25th.)

Birch Aquarium
2300 Expedition Way
La Jolla, California 92037
858-534-3474

Georgia Aquarium – Atlanta, GA

If you live in North Georgia, consider driving to Atlanta to see Scuba Claus at the Georgia Aquarium. Kids can catch a glimpse of Scuba Claus plunging into the largest aquatic habitat in the world during the 12:00pm and 12:30pm dive shows, Thursday through Sunday from now until Christmas. Hang around for a chance to talk to Scuba Claus on the “dry side” in the Ocean Voyager Theater.

Georgia Aquarium
225 Baker Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30313
404-581-4000

Newport Aquarium – Newport, KY

Newport, KY - Water Wonderland with Scuba Claus

Scuba Santa will be enchanting folks who visit the Newport Aquarium this month. Whether you live in Newport or across the river in Cincinnati, plan a family trip to see Scuba Santa. The undersea festivities include Scuba Santa’s magic bubbles, dancing lights, and cheery holiday music. After Scuba Santa’s swim, children will have a chance to meet him in person and tell the big guy their Christmas wish. Enjoy this magical experience daily from 11am–4pm (except on 12/25).

Newport Aquarium
One Aquarium Way
Newport, KY 41071
800-406-3474

South Carolina Aquarium – Charleston, SC

South Carolina Aquarium
Photo Credit: christmasincharleston.com

Scuba Claus will be taking a plunge into the Great Ocean Tank at the South Carolina Aquarium on select dates this month. He’ll be there from 11:00am–3:00pm on December 12–13 and 19–23, so plan a visit to watch him swim with the sea creatures. You might even see whether his belly jiggles like jelly underwater! ;) There will be lots of other fun family activities, too; contact the aquarium for more details.

South Carolina Aquarium
100 Aquarium Wharf
Charleston, SC 29401
800-722-6455

Vancouver Aquarium – Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver Aquarium

Scuba Claus is visiting the Vancouver Aquarium every day until December 24th. He’ll be swimming through the Straight of Georgia exhibit, so you might see him swimming with belugas, halibut, sturgeon, or starfish. There’s also a possibility he will plunge into other galleries, so keep your peepers open as you stroll through the aquarium! Scuba Claus will be diving daily now until December 24th. Check the Vancouver Aquarium’s schedule for more information to plan your visit.

Vancouver Aquarium
845 Avison Way
Vancouver, BC
V6G 3E2
604-659-3400

Scuba Claus’ Other Aquarium Visits:

Scuba Claus wants to visit as many places as possible, so after the jump, you’ll find info on a handful of other aquarium appearances he’s making this holiday season.

Raymond Around the World: Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland

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Remember last year when Raymond and I travelled to Savannah, Georgia to visit a friend who was cycling around the Southeastern United States? Well, that friend got married earlier this year, so of course Raymond and I had to attend the nuptials! The wedding took place in rural Michigan, and Raymond and I were excited when we realized that we would pass Bronner’s on our way to the wedding.

Thrilled to find a merry roadside stop in MI

Based in Frankenmuth, Michigan, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is the world’s largest Christmas store, and it is a sight to behold, as it is simply HUGE! Situated on 27 acres, Bronner’s features festive landscaping, enormous decorations, a chapel, and 100,000 Christmas lights—and that’s all before you even walk into the store itself.

Ready to check out ornaments upon ornaments

The salesroom at Bronner’s covers 2.2 acres… that’s 1.7 American football fields of ornaments, nativity sets, Christmas lights, home decor, trees, and more—wow! And Bronner’s has an incredible variety of Christmas ornaments, from snowmen, Santas, and reindeer to ornaments based on occupations & hobbies to ornaments from around the world.

Raymond and I definitely had fun on our festive pit stop, being totally immersed in holiday cheer in the middle of the summer.

Since the store is so large, Raymond and I decided we would meet up here if we got separated.
Trying to memorize all of these for his other travels
Learning about Bronner’s history—it was founded 70 years ago!
Raymond with the founder of Bronner’s
Told you they had some large decorations! Can you spot Raymond?
Hey, I know that reindeer!
Viewing just a small sampling of the ornaments
Raymond’s favourite ornament section
Trying to select an ornament to purchase, but they had so many options!

If you want to visit Bronner’s yourself, they are open 361 days a year:

Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland
25 Christmas Lane, P.O. Box 176
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
United States

Raymond getting the 411

Where else do you think Raymond went this year? Stay tuned to find out! :D

One Boy’s Dream Sparks a Global Phenomenon

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It all started in 1980 with Chris, a seven-year-old boy with leukemia. His dream was to be a police officer, so family friends and members of the community pulled together to make his dream come true. He received a custom-made officer’s uniform and hat, earned motorcycle officer’s wings, rode in a helicopter, but shortly thereafter, Chris passed. As the story of Chris’ wish spread, it inspired a group of officers, friends, and family to start an organization. Later that year, Make-A-Wish was formed.

Make-A-Wish

Here’s a video that describes Chris’ story more in depth:

Today, Make-A-Wish’s vision is as strong as it was over 30 years ago, and this vision is fueled by the belief that granting wishes of severely ill children fills them with joy and helps them to feel like a normal kid again. But granting wishes is so much more than just making a child happy—the impact of a fulfilled wish has a far-reaching impact! Such positive experiences help kids feel stronger, enabling them to fight their illnesses and face certain medical treatments.

In 2014 alone, Make-A-Wish granted 14,000 wishes, which averages out to one every 38 minutes! While that is certainly a lot of wishes, this covers only about half of all eligible children. Make-A-Wish wants to be able to grant a wish to every eligible child.

Brandon_Christmas_648x444

Volunteer at Your Local Chapter

As you can imagine, it takes a lot of help to grant wishes to so many children, which is why volunteers and donors are so instrumental in carrying out Make-A-Wish’s mission. If you’re interested in volunteering, consider this: Volunteering takes on many different roles and tasks, so use your strengths and talents to find a volunteering project that suits you. The easiest way to find volunteer opportunities is to check out your local chapter’s website. You can search for a chapter here.

Give in a Variety of Ways

Like volunteering, there are many options when it comes to donating. Giving monetarily is what most of us think of when we hear “donate,” but did you know you can also donate airline miles or stock in addition to making tax-deductible donations? Explore all the other ways to give on the Make-A-Wish website.

donation-form-bannerv1

You can also order holiday cards to benefit children in a specific region.

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Read More Inspirational Stories

If you’re like me and want to read even more stories that tug on your heart strings, here are a few that I especially enjoyed:

Want to read additional heart-warming stories of wish kids? Click here.

Etsy Item of the Day: “Be Merry” Door Decal

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I’ve got a soft spot for swirly typefaces, so, naturally, I love this “Be Merry” door decal. It looks so friendly and welcoming, so it would be a perfect addition to anyone’s front door! Don’t want it on your door? No problem— place it on a wall or window, if you like. As this item is made-to-order, you can choose from 25 colors so you can get the right color to match your home.
Be Merry Door Decal

Etsy Seller: Household Words

Your Guide to a Uniquely British Christmas

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Each country has their own special holiday traditions, and England is certainly no exception. While some of their customs—such as sending Christmas cards and decorating the tree—are practiced in other countries, some are decidedly British. To learn more about mince pies, Christmas crackers, and Boxing Day, check out the infographic below!
Your Guide to a Uniquely British Christmas

Click on the image for a closer look! Infographic via Londontopia.net

Etsy Item of the Day: Pinecones Field Guide Print

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Throughout the year, I gather pinecones so I can decorate my home with them during the holidays. If you like woody cones as I do, but don’t have the space to hoard basketfuls of them, you’ll enjoy this Pinecones Field Guide Print. Featuring fifteen different varieties found in North America, the cones are laid out on a crisp white background, which gives me the feeling that I’m looking at these pinecones in a bed of snow! This would be a lovely gift for any of your nature-loving friends.
Pinecones Field Guide Print

Etsy Seller: Kate Dolamore Art
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