Giving the Perfect Gift Just Became Easy

ARC2013_ProductPage_290x290disv6 (1)Christmas morning is about waking up to spending time with loved ones. It’s about feasting and spreading holiday cheer. Most importantly, it’s about giving.

You can give a gift that with meaning for someone in need. All it takes is just a few clicks of a computer mouse button online at the American Red Cross Holiday Giving Catalog.

So, what makes the Red Cross Holiday Giving Catalog so special?

Your gift can give shelter to the woman and her children who lost their home to a fire. It provides phone cards and Military comfort kits to a wounded service member to call home to loved ones. There are many people in need and your gift can make all the difference.

For only $50, you can provide infant care supplies like diapers or formula for a baby affected by a home fire. You can help 50 young children live healthier lives through vaccinations.  You can give hot meals that provide comfort and strength when disaster strikes. And, as the Chicago region grows colder this winter, you can wrap people in warm blankets through your gift.

Give something that means something this Christmas. Visit the catalog at

Written by: Diana Brokop

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Including a smoke alarm to prevent any scares,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
Traveling safely with a shovel and flares.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of red crosses danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
Remembering always the Red Cross does care.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and seven tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
For there was not a doubt he was always prepared.
He carried a Disaster Supply Kit,
All should buy one and share.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Cook! now, DuPage! now, Kendall and McHenry!
On, Kane! on Lake! on, Will all together!
The Red Cross serves you no matter the weather,
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!
“As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
Many goodies and presents for all to enjoy.
Since they’re from the Red Cross, all are filled, with laughter and joy.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
Being cautious and alert, because safety comes first.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He was all dressed in red like the loyal Red Cross.
That means he’s a good one, there for any cause.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Holidays to all, and to all a safe-night.”
-Amerit Del Rio is a volunteer at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.

Avoid Becoming an Injured, Holiday-Sweater-Clad Cliché

If you watch a lot of holiday movies, especially the funny kind, you know that this season can be filled with mishaps. As safety experts, the staff at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago would like to advise you with a few ways to avoid becoming an injured, holiday-sweater-clad cliché—even if you are paying homage to your favorite flicks.

Home Alone—The feisty little boy in this flick is inadvertently left alone during the holidays, fending for himself against a pair of wily robbers. One might marvel at 8-year-old Kevin’s ability to take care of himself, and you’re right to wonder. Though it make for hilarity, kids that young shouldn’t be left alone without a babysitter. Red-Cross-trained babysitters known a few tips that would save Kevin some trouble, even if they would ruin the plot:
  • Red Cross babysitters learn to call 911 if they hear or see something that they can’t handle without adult supervision. Our course is designed for babysitters ages 11 and older.
  • Our students also learn Child and Infant First Aid, which would have come in handy salving the wounds of those unfortunate robbers.
  • Lots of Kevin’s antics stem from boredom. Our babysitters learn how to plan activities that are age-appropriate and safe. Learn more about our babysitting classes here.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation—Clark Griswold is feeling extremely festive when he decks out his family’s home in zillions and zillions of decorative lights. In the process of putting up the lights, he falls off the roof. Ouch. He also strings together so many lights that he blows every fuse in the house. “Make sure you’re not attaching every single strand of lights to the same outlet,” said David Zielinski, Red Cross preparedness instructor. Indeed, no more than three strands of lights should be linked together. Other decorating tips: (Photo by slworking)

  • Make sure that any light strings or other decorations are in good condition and follow manufacturer’s instructions for their use. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords.
  • Always unplug holiday lights (including tree lights) before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Place decorations at least three feet away from fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.

Meet the Parents—What doesn’t Greg do wrong when he meets his fiancé Pam’s parents for the first time over the holidays? He loses the family cat, Jinxie, and inadvertently sets the back yard ablaze. If Greg had thought ahead, he could have won over Pam’s cat-crazy dad by giving him a Pet CPR course as a gift. Red Cross Cat and Dog CPR and First Aid courses teach owners how to take care of their furry friends during emergencies like heat exhaustion or choking. We also sell quick reference guides for Pet CPR and First Aid.

Can you think of other holiday film bumbles that could use our safety tips? Comment with suggestions! We’d love to tackle them here.

Holiday Sentiment

I find that during the holiday season, everything is just a little more sentimental, and I find myself thinking about the loved ones who have made my life a little bit sweeter. This got me thinking about how the Red Cross continues to make people’s lives a little bit sweeter through all its great work.

The Red Cross means so much to so many.
For the woman who saved her brother’s life after he fell from a heart attack, or the man who safely got his family out of their burning home, the Red Cross is a source of health and safety education and preparedness training. For the young woman who lost everything in a fire, the Red Cross is a source of hope and deliverance from the question of “what happens next?” For the father who needs to get an important message to his son in the military, the Red Cross is a conduit of communication. For the young boy who needed a blood transfusion after a major car accident, the Red Cross is a source of life.The Red Cross has touched the lives of so many in some special way. This holiday season, let’s remember the essential, life-saving work of this great organization by making a gift to the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. Your gift can help our chapter bring relief to those in need, help us teach people to prevent and prepare for emergencies, and so much more. Every little bit counts.

Christmas Song with Proceeds Donated to the Red Cross

It’s the holiday season. We’re all baking, shopping, and trudging through the snow. Thanks to Chicago’s crazy winter weather, we’re doing all these holiday activities while pretty cold. Despite all this, there’s usually some great holiday music playing in the background of our snowy lives. Today, a new Christmas song was released and should be immediately added to your holiday playlist!
“Another Christmas” is the first single by Michael Johns, a former top ten finalist on this year’s American Idol. Not only is this song great but, 50% of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross and the other half to ALS. On his MySpace blog, Johns dedicated the song to all troops serving abroad this holiday and the importance of the Red Cross. He describes “Another Christmas” as “a song about being away from loved ones and telling them you miss them and love them.”
Download “Another Christmas” on Amazon or iTunes.

The Holiday Season is Here!

I cannot believe that the holiday season began on Friday! I’m already excited for the family time, gifts, food, and cheer that go along with it. Did you start shopping yet? I am all about online shopping this year. The Greater Chicago chapter has an online store and we have a holiday sale! If you’re looking for a great stocking stuffer for someone in your family, a babysitter, or your pet, check out the Red Cross first aid kits that are offered at 10% off during December and include free shipping. Visit our online store here.

While this holiday season will be a tough year for giving, you can help out the Red Cross of Greater Chicago by just doing your regular online shopping. GoodShop, a part of, allows you to pick a nonprofit to support before you shop online at popular retailers like Target, Amazon, eBay, Best Buy, and over 700 more stores. A percentage of your total purchase amount will be given to the charity you chose at no extra cost to you. Click on the image to the right to visit the GoodSearch site.

If you’re not a big online shopping fan, you can use, powered by Yahoo!, when you need to find something online. Every time you search, a penny is donated to the cause of your choice.

We’re listed on GoodSearch as “American Red Cross – Greater Chicago.” We’re all about the shopping and searching this year. Tell your friends and get the word out about the great benefits of GoodSearch!