We are honoring Passover and Easter this week along with the first real lasting bout of spring weather. This means lots of sniffles, but also buying stuff for gifts – candy, toys, etc.
I don’t want to take away your joy at gnawing on that giant chocolate ear, but there are some other ways you can make gifts this week and weekend to support the real-life animals as well as celebrate their symbolic roles.
We typically spend the holidays with niblings and this is the year Granny had decided to stop the Easter Egg Hunt at her house, due to their ages (11 and 13) and some health issues she’s focusing her energies on. Very reasonable. But I know it is hard and a little disappointing to lose a tradition when you are a kid who is getting older but still love kid things (and candy.)
What we opted to do is to purchase them each a graphic novel as a gift. I chose the updated version of Little Women – Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth by Rey Tercerio and the Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier. They are age appropriate and tap into their unique interests. If they get bored with the mode adult version holiday, they can instantly dive in or they can read later when their screens have been parentally shut down. You can purchase these books via my Amazon influencer page if you want (we get a few pennies if you do) or certainly find them in any book retailer.
Another option on this is to plan a used bookstore shopping trip. After our interview with Rickert & Beagle Books, I think a shopping spree introducing children to used books (and a budget) A simple $10 gift card and a planned future trip is another great gift idea that combines 1-on-1 time, books, and the joy of choosing your own gift. Contact Rickert & Beagle books to order a gift certificate.
Don’t give living creatures as gifts, ever. You know this. But there are some powerful ways you can tie support for living animals into their holidays.
Humane Animal Rescue’s Wildlife Center works with injured and orphaned wild animals. They have an extensive wish list and options to donate to literally help the baby ducks and bunnies that are dumped after the holiday as well as those who need medical care for other reasons.
Our #CatFoodDrivePgh helps keep homeless & feral cats fed which reduces their harmful impact on local wildlife and keeps things in balance a bit. We are also approaching kitten season so our wish list includes kitten food and other items that will be necessary for the kitten foster parents. If you order from the wish list now, it will be in the hands of homeless cat caretakers by early next week.
Another option for both efforts is to create a gift basket with your child (or adult gift recipient) with some gently used items that can be donated to help these animals. Put a basket filled with items FOR the bunnies (or the cats or groundhogs or birds) out with a little note of explanation and then make a trip together to donate. Even more powerful is asking the child to contribute something gently used of their own to help. Learning how to give is a powerful gift.
The rise of anti-Semitism has an impact as our Jewish neighbors and family. I’d suggest a donation to the Jewish Family & Community Services food pantry in Squirrel Hill to help provide kosher and other food items for our neighbors. Passover begins on Friday April 19 and continues through April 27.
The rise of anti-Islamic sentiments and actions is also a powerful opportunity to teach children about their neighbors. There is no “Islamic Easter” but Ramadan does begin on May 9, 2019 this year. The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh also has a food pantry that you can support with donations.
On both websites, you will find educational links to help teach you and your children or other gift recipients more about Passover, Ramadan, and the experiences of our neighbors from different religious cultures.
As someone raised Christian (Catholic), I know that Christian holidays can be difficult for people who have been harmed or experienced trauma in their church. This is particularly true for individuals who are exposed to anti-LGBTQ belief systems and/or forced to participate in ‘conversion ministry’ or counseling. If this is an important issue for you, I’d suggest a donation to programs that work with youth in a positive, supportive environment including Dreams of Hope. You can also donate to the People’s Pride of the Ages 2019 to support LGBTQ folx who have been marginalized by mainstream Pride activities, including mainstream Christianity. There are the folks who are working with LGBTQ youth kicked out of their homes for being queer or trans (or both.)
As always, we welcome your donations and investment in our work here at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents for the #AMPLIFY project and other efforts.
And we are encouraging people to support our neighbors Joy and Michael as they experience difficult times.
Please feel free to list other suggestions in the comments below …