By Cath Taylor

God, Goats and Gifts

November 3rd, 2017

“You got me a what?”

Uncle Graham is squinting at your card, breath a little yeasty from the Christmas pudding. Frankly, he’s disappointed. It was socks he wanted. Socks. Or a fishing magazine. He also had his eye on a new case for his iphone.

You got him a goat from UnitingWorld’s Everything in Common ethical gift Catalogue. Worthy, but clearly not his favourite.

“Well, it’s for a family in Zimbabwe…” you tell him, a little flustered. “They’ll breed the goats and with the money they can get for them at the market, they’ll send their children to school. It’s pretty cool, actually.”

Uncle Graham looks skeptical. He doesn’t actually say it, but you can see what he’s thinking: “So you got me nothing. You got them goats, but you got me nothing.”

Let’s face it: not everyone loves goats, and not everyone gets the idea that you bought them something for someone else. (And actually, some people genuinely need socks).

So here you are, with your anxious thoughts about Christmas consumerism, desire to do something to change the world, and cranky Uncle. What to do… what to do?

Look, buy Uncle Graham the socks. Buy your seven year-old niece that unicorn cushion she desperately wants (just go easy on the glitter). But don’t stop there.

If you’re really about living out the Christmas message, and not just token goat-gifting, sit down and tell your niece the true story of a gift that transforms lives.  Start it with the birth of a child, born in a part of the world where mothers still give birth in fear of their lives.  And tell her what that first life means.

Tell her it means you’re on the side of children everywhere born in the dirt, because they are loved and grow up to do great things. Tell her it means every person matters, even if their beginnings are hidden by hay. Angels sing for people like this. Tell her that’s why you personally wanted someone to gift a goat in your honour this Christmas. Or a beehive. Or school stationary. These gifts give people everywhere the chance to make a life for themselves, using the skills they’ve been given, just the way you and I would. These gifts are love in action, and they’re not just unwrapped at Christmas.

Christmas isn’t just about making sure our nearest and dearest have everything they need. Christmas is about being swept up in a powerful gift of love and sharing that as far and wide as we can – the meaning as well as the outcome.

If goats are your thing and also Uncle Graham’s – check out our gifts here at But if the people you know and love won’t appreciate the idea behind a goat, don’t give up.

Simply bypass the giftcards and make your gift directly to UnitingWorld’s work: because you believe that love was born quite deliberately in the kind of place where today, it’s still desperately needed. Because you believe in a world less hungry and more hopeful. Because this Christmas, we’ll spend $8.9 billion on gifts half of us don’t want, while people die for things they don’t have.

This is how we honour the Giver, goats or not.

Everything in Common is the Uniting Church in Australia’s ethical gift catalogue, changing lives for people who live with less. Your gift of a goat, a beehive or an educational scholarship helps build the world we all long for.

You can order gift cards for friends and family, letting them know about the project to which you’ve donated in their honour, at


« Read more Blogs

Leave a Reply

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in these blogs are those of their authors and do not necessarily represent the views of UnitingWorld or the National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia