Even those I know who are struggling are better off than many others. So with the Christmas season rapidly approaching, I challenge each one of you to do something to help someone less fortunate.
I know, I know! Everyone wants someone to do something to help someone! Well, it's the season of giving (which I personally think is a crock-o-crap...we should help others all year round...but I will give in it). Actually stop and think for a minute about how Christmas morning would be at your house if you had no tree, if you had only one small gift for each person...or no gifts at all except hand made cards because there was NO MONEY to do anything. What would Christmas dinner for your family feel like if it consisted of Top Ramen, a loaf of bread, and hamburger helper instead of a goose or turkey or ham with all the fixin's?
It's easy to read this and think to yourself "It would be ok as long as I have my family with me" if you've never been in the position to wonder whether or not there would be presents under your tree for your kids, how to explain to them why Santa didn't come, etc.
To say my kids want for nothing, is a pretty accurate statement. This was Christmas at our house last year. Yeah. That was all for them...spoiled little shizzles that they are. But thanks to some generosity and the Christmas spirit, there was a very needy family out there that got even more than this under their tree.
I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Those of you who read this who remember me from back in the day...well most of you were too! We had full length rabbit fur coats when we were kids, went on shopping sprees, vacations at least twice a year, we had everything we wanted and then some. But material objects are easy to have ripped out from under you, and there was a time when my family didn't know if we would have a home to live in, much less have much of a Christmas. So, to me, helping those who are in that same position is something that doesn't just feel good, it feels amazing.
Each year we go to the leaders of our church and ask them to hook us up with a family in need (ok, fine...my mom does the leg work). We adopt them, if you will...for Christmas. Last year we had a family in such need that the father, who worked construction...had not owned a winter coat in years!! Can you imagine working outside in Chicagoland in the winter just layered with sweatshirts??!! HELL NO! I can not even tell you how much stuff we collected for this family! The husband actually had not one but FOUR Carhartt coats! We had so much stuff for them between all of the things we got them, and the things our friends donated to them, that we had 2 HUGE 36x36x48" boxes filled to the brim and overflowing to deliver to them! There are very few things that warm your heart like the joyful tear filled eyes of someone who is truly touched by the generosity of others.
When talking to a friend the other day, I was disheartened by her statement 'I want to help another family but I just can't.' I wanted to smack her and say "WHY NOT!?" My family is by no means loaded...but we find a little something this time of year to pass on to someone who needs it.
Do you know a family that doesn't have a tree? Lowes has 6-7 ft Scotch Pines for $17!! SEVENTEEN DOLLARS! If that's too rich for your blood then get another person to go in with you for it! For $9 each and a half hour of your time (maybe a few scratches on the roof of your car but seriously who's going to notice) you can make someone's house warm with the scents and sights of a tree!
Know someone who can't afford gifts for their kids this year? Hit Goodwill! For $20 you can pick up a couple things for each kid and a roll of wrapping paper. Try a new method of ding-dong-ditching...when the family is home...leave the presents on the front step and ring and run. If that doesn't inspire belief in Santa, I don't know what will.
Pick up a few bags of discount dog food or cat food and drop them off at your local shelter.
Go through your pantry and take out food you have been saving but never used and see if your church knows a family in need that could use the food! Box it up and wrap it in paper. The gift of a meal is a heart warming thing.
Ask your church or community leader if there is a family in need and get your friends all together to help collect items for the family. You can even use a web group like Freecycle.org to accumulate items to gift if you need to. There are ways to help those in need even if you don't have cash to throw around!
Know a family in which the parents work multiple jobs and are rarely home? Make some meals to take to them. I can hook you up with super yummy and cheap recipes that you can freeze. Seriously, email me.
There is no excuse to not help others!
Sadly there is no shortage of families in need. This year we have another sweet family from our church. You wouldn't know by meeting them that they're hard up. There's never a complaint from them about money or possessions.
If you want to join in to make a Christmas to remember for the family we have adopted, here is how you can help:
Our family this year is a single mom and her four kids. According to our source they are “deeply in need.” The mom is divorced; she receives no support from her ex.
B. (19 yrs old) She is in college and would love Jimmy Johns (or other fast food) gift cards
M. (16 yr old boy) is in military school graduating in December would like Visa Gift Card, Best Buy gift cards
G. (7 yr old boy) Loves spy stuff, Legos, & Kung Zhu Battle Hampsters
C. (8 yr old boy) Also loves spy stuff, Legos, and Tech Deck stuff
Mom W. Needs pots & pans badly. She would also love to have a set of red dishes & cups. She really could use new bath towels and wash cloths (Dark Brown) and her wardrobe could use some new items...she would like to shop at Fashion Bug. They also need clothes for the kids and grocery money. They shop at Meijer, Walmart & Jewel when they can.
This is not a ploy to get stuff out of you guys but if any of you wish to donate toys or gift cards to our adopted family or donate $ which will be used to purchase the above items, please contact me at "notsodomestic at yahoo dot com" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I encourage you all to find someone to help this holiday season; be it the family we've adopted, your local shelter (animal or human), or a family in need in your area. A little holiday spirit goes a long way! May your hearts be lit with the joy that come with knowing that somewhere you have made a difference :)