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Holiday Challenge: Nix The Useless Gifts, Do Good With Your Money Instead

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'Tis the season for Charles Dickens, but not in the way you might think. Sure, we're all familiar with what may be the most famous last line in English literature, "God bless us, everyone." But this year, it maybe the most famous opening line (which also belongs to Dickens) that best describes the season. It is, indeed, "the best of times and the worst of times."

In addition to Dickens, I can quote Jesus, Buddha, Mohamed, capitalism and socialism and to justify what I am about to share, but I am way beyond the need to defend or preach or even inspire. I am sad. Sad that I saw a long line of people waiting in freezing weather unable to pay their heating bills and finding out that whatever assistance may have been available in the past is available no longer. These fellow citizens will have to go without heat until they find work and therefore enough money to pay the bill.

I am also sad when I hear about children who are going hungry or who won't have toys this Christmas. When I went to buy for my already well-gifted friends, I think of the people without and I stop in my tracks and say to myself, "Self, what can I do to make a difference?" The answer came more quickly than I thought it might. The only gifts I have bought this season have been at stores where I can buy gifts for kids who wouldn't have had any.

So this is what I have decided and I invite and urge you all to participate with me. Instead of buying my friends gifts, I am going to take that money and pay the electric bills of as many people as I can. I will also be donating directly to food for the elderly, since many of our elderly population is going hungry (indeed, the worst of times).

The Impact section of The Huffington Post will be launching a store that gives back and will be aiding anyone who wants to join me in this type of gifting.

Learn how you can give a gift that gives back this holiday season.

Your holiday shopping can mean clean drinking water for people around the world, care packages for our troops abroad, the ability for a child to attend a full year of school, and with over 100 participating nonprofits, many more options are available. Your friend or loved one will learn about their gift via an e-card customized with your personal note and know the tangible impact made through your support.

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