Jola Naibi

Writer and amateur photog. I seek to inspire and inform with the words I write and share and the photos I take. I have written a book of short stories: Terra Cotta Beauty, and I am working on a lot more. Reading and writing fuel my energy. In reading, I explore this vast and diverse world, in writing, I employ my over-active imagination and address the 'what-if' questions that life often throws at us.


‘Tis the Season: The Giving Edition

By on December 21, 2016


The opportunity to serve and give during the Christmas season and beyond is a testament to the fact that it is in our service to others that we can find true fulfillment and raison d’être  There are countless opportunities within your  immediate community and beyond to give the gift of love. Even if it is just a smile to brighten someone’s day as they hurtle along this journey called life. And when we do give physical items, the joy and love that we put into them makes it so very special.

Operation Christmas Child.

I discovered this about four years ago. It is administered by Samaritan’s Purse – a U.S.-based non-denominational Christian charity organization that specializes in relief efforts in some of the hardest to reach places in the world. Operation Christmas Child is one of their signature projects. Here is how it works:

You find a sturdy shoe-box, fill it with toys, school supplies and other accessories. A full list of suggested items is available here. The folks at Operation Christmas Child provide boxes but if you save your shoe-boxes, you can use those as well. In addition to the U.S., the shoe-boxes are collected in Australia, Austria, the U.K., Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Spain, Canada, New Zealand, Finland. Collection time in the U.S., is usually mid-November, in order to give enough time for the boxes to be processed and sent to their various destinations in time for Christmas.


If you complete the process online, you actually get to find out where your boxes were sent to. The boxes in the photo were received by children in Haiti, Ukraine and Burundi. The reaction of the children who receive the boxes is pure, unadulterated, electrifying joy and to have contributed to that type of joy is immensely gratifying.


Purses for a Cause.


I was inspired by a Facebook post that I saw last year and so I raided my closet and found about five purses and filled them with goodies and on Christmas Day, I went to downtown Washington D.C. and handed them to some of my beautiful sisters in transient living. This year, I did not have that many purses so I sent a bunch of emails to friends and family and got a whopping 20 purses and some generous donations. We were able to fill them up with a bunch of items and will be handing them out again.





The season for giving also brings an opportunity to creatively give gifts to friends and family members. At some point during the year, I subscribed to the Essence Beauty Box. I was disappointed to see that it was discontinued in September, as I had looked forward to getting beauty products every month. The boxes they came in are nice and sturdy and I decided to save them, thinking they would come in handy at some point. And so, those Essence Beauty Boxes have now found a new life as Christmas gift boxes.

img_0669And if you are thinking of an authentic Nigerian-themed gift to give to that young person in your life who has a leaning towards sci-fi adventures, may I please recommend YouNeek Studio‘s E.X.O series: Part 1 and 2. I ordered these for some young people who had read the first part in the series and were thirsty for more, I was super-impressed by the fast shipping and they were signed by Mr. Roye himself.

As you celebrate this wonderful time of the year, I hope you will be able to find time to give as you receive.