(this post was originally written for the ecoetsy team blog)
This time of year can often be a little crazy, with people feeling pressured to buy the “right” gift for everyone on their list, the crowded shopping centers, angry traffic, consumerism run amok. It’s enough to make me want to hibernate by a fire with a giant plate of cookies.
Buying handmade on Etsy, especially from EcoEtsy team members, is one way to avoid much of that guilt and pressure, however, there are a few other gifts you can give that will make a difference in someone’s life long after the tree comes down or the menorah burns out. Whether you do it in the name of a friend or loved one, or just for your own good karma and peace of mind, here are just a couple of things you can do that will not just make someone’s day, but might just save their life:
Giving Blood: Blood is needed year-round, but with the increase in travel accidents that often occur over the holidays, donating this time of year is always a good thing. You can click your state on this handy map and find the center nearest you. If you are outside the United States, here is a list by country of places to go for donation, thanks to Wikipedia.
Donating Platelets: Platelets only have a shelf life of 5 days, so it’s even more crucial that there is a constant supply. One donation of platelets can help up to a dozen patients, whereas donations of whole blood do not provide nearly as much aid.
The process is a little more complex than just giving blood and does take a little longer, but is not detrimental to the donor in any way. Basically, they take out your blood, filter out the platelets, then put your blood back into you. You can learn more about the process and find a donation center here.
Putting yourself on the Bone Marrow registry: According to the Bone Marrow Registry site, over 10,000 patients nationwide need bone marrow to save their lives, but fewer than half get what they need. Bone marrow donations can save the life of a patient with leukemia or certain other types of cancers.
These days, donating bone marrow is often not much more complex than donating blood. Even when the more serious type of donation is needed, the process is nowhere near as scary as it once was, sending the donor home the same day.
Getting tested and typed only involves a simple blood test, and then you can put yourself on the registry to be called when a match is found.
For international registry, check here, and for registry inside the United States, go here.
Thank you for reading, and may you all have a wonderful and safe holiday season!