Water Girl, Rain Man, and Duck Soup.

The indefatigable Ella Salerno

Just in case you, like me, are having a difficult time completing your Christmas list, here are three beautiful examples of people who have decided to give the gift of giving… and what could be easier than to make one of their ideas your present to someone?

When Ella Salerno was not yet 8 years old, she learned in a school program that 1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean water. This completely flipped her out, and she decided to do something about it. She and her mom Maureen read about charity:water and Ella decided for her 8th birthday she would ask friends and relatives to make a contribution so she could build a well for 250 people in Africa. She hit up her grandmother, she went around and organized fundraising events with local merchants, and in the end, she raised $5,500. But Ella wasn’t finished. Now she’s 9, and she’s really on a roll.

Instead of asking relatives for funds, now she’s asking KIDS to get involved – hoping to inspire 100 children to commit to raising $100 each – that will build 4 new wells to provide healthy, safe drinking water to thousands of people in need. Your kid can sign up here – and what could be a more incredible Christmas gift of sharing??

Like Ella, social entrepreneur Tom Spargo is also knee deep in it – with a brilliant new rainwater collection system that he has just tested and promoted in Guatemala.

RainSaucers is a simple, stand-alone, clean, flexible solution that can make rainwater harvesting an economic reality in developing countries like Guatemala, where the bottled water industry is both expensive and unreliable. Poor families in Guatemala can spend up to $300/year on bottled water, yet for every inch of rain, a household can collect 6.75 gallons for use.

The RainSaucer is 4 feet in diameter, made of plastic, free-standing, rugged, and comes with (2) 4-gallon buckets for collection. It keeps the rainwater free from roof chemicals and run-off, and safe for drinking. You can  help support Spargo,  winner of the 2010 West Coast Village Capital program, in his mission to become the most affordable rainwater harvesting option in the world, by contacting him here.

And finally, if your tongue is about to fall off from licking Christmas card envelopes (I feel you), you can follow my reader Susan Laycock’s example:

“…this year, instead of spending the money on stamps and cards, I decided to take the lump sum and buy ducks from Heifer International instead. With our University of Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl, I thought this would be a good way to be a ‘Duck Fan’.  My college roommate is on board …and she got her friends on board and we’re hoping that together, over the years, we can eventually build an Ark. We all still share the spirit of the season in a wonderful way and experience giving as the best gift of all.”

Can I get an “Amen” on that?