A New Christmas Giving Tradition for the Lordeman Family

The Lordeman family’s Christmas gifts had changed over the years as the grand children got older. They had always been a family of list makers. If you didn’t get your wish list out by Thanksgiving you were nagged until you did. In recent years, most of the wish lists were being dominated by items such as donations to food banks, blood donations in the recipient’s name, or coupons for services – in other words, fewer and fewer commercial items were exchanged.

But this past year, Jimmy had another idea. Jimmy proposed that instead of several recipient charities, the whole family would contribute to one cause. By choosing one charity, their gift would have an even greater impact. The Lordeman’s loved this idea, and the extensive family – comprising of two grandparents, their four children and spouses, and seven grandchildren (ranging from ages 18 to 30) – agreed to participate!

Agreeing to participate was the easy part, though; agreeing on the charity was going to be a bit more difficult. Several family members volunteered to help in the process. To start, Jimmy’s cousin Christina asked family members what issues were important to them. It was immediately clear that basic needs – food, shelter and clothing—were seen as essential. A proliferation of emails ensued as everyone suggested different charities, with 9 making the final list.

A family who voted on everything from where to eat to what movie to see, the Lordeman’s began the first round of voting. With lots of experience as the family’s NCAA Basketball Pool Chair, Jimmy’s mother Nancy Jo was drafted to tally the votes. Everyone picked their three favorite of the 9 organizations, and the family voted again. The second round resulted in Action Against Hunger as the clear winner!

When all was said and done, Jimmy’s idea brought in $1,800. While family members may differ on how to vote or what faith to practice, their common compassion for those without basic human needs made their gift-giving for Christmas 2007 a particularly unifying experience.