The Mustard Seed's Christmas Wish List

Hello Everyone! This morning we're going to take a bit of a break from the 12 days of WANDA to talk about a wonderful initiative that the Mustard Seed puts together every year, their Christmas Wish List. For those of you who've never heard of the Mustard Seed, it is a local charity that helps "meet the basic needs of shelter, food, clothing and acceptance for men and women experiencing poverty, and work with them to find sustainable housing and employment." Click here to learn more. 

During the Christmas season, the organization asks for help with donations such as blankets, winter jackets, and sleeping bags for the homeless community because winter is usually the most difficult time for these individuals; people have to battle the cold on top of their struggles. 

The list has suggested items that the shelter usually needs the most of, however if you're feeling ambitious, you can put together suggested bundles of items such as 'Mugs of Joy' which include a travel mug, a coffee gift card, some bus tickets, and handwarmers, or 'Backpacks' that are filled with emergency items such as:

  • Wool/thermal socks
  • Gloves, toque, & scarf
  • Toilet paper
  • Bus tickets
  • Deodorant
  • Soap
  • Neck warmers
  • Travel toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Small warm blanket
  • $5 coffee gift card
  • Emergency candle & matches
  • Pocket hand warmers
  • Lip balm


With a 'Backpack' or 'Mug of Joy', these people can now have something tangible that they can call their own. For a full list of items, click here

Anyway, at Visionstate our holiday tradition consisted of going out for Chinese food, followed by a White Elephant Gift Exchange. Every year, it has become increasingly difficult to find a generic 'cool' gift that everyone would like. If you don't know, the premise of a White Elephant is you can either choose a gift from the pile of unopened gifts, or 'steal' an already opened gift from someone if you like it better. Inevitably every year there is always that one super popular item that everyone keeps 'stealing'.  At the end of the exchange, we all take home something. In reality, it's probably something we didn't need to begin with or will only end up using once or twice.  

So this year, we decided to do something different. Instead of using the $20-$25 to receive something for ourselves, we decided to pool the money we would have spent on the exchange to put together as many things as we could on the Christmas Wish List.

You can see from the pictures that we did quite well, and were able to put together a "Back pack" and two "Mugs of Joy"! With the leftover cash, we made a donation directly to the Mustard Seed so that they could use the funds however they pleased. 

Overall, I think the change in our gift exchange was for the better. We no longer had to worry about getting a generic gift that may or may not mean something because now our combined gift will definitely make a small difference in someone's day this Christmas. I think this is a great new tradition to move forward with!

Anyway, what do you and your company do during the holidays? Email me at

Merry Christmas! 

Carolyn TruongComment