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Tis The Season

Tis the season to be jolly and generous.  I’ve been shopping since August for gifts for my husband and since September for the rest of my family and friends.  I’m hoping to knock out the remainder of my holiday shopping over the coming weekend and use the two weeks prior to Christmas to do no shopping outside of groceries.  The main focus of this season for me has been my family, as it is for many people.  This is also the season where Santa’s little helpers make their appearance in front of local stores with their bells and red buckets to collect donations for the less fortunate.  Well off families adopt other families who are less than fortunate for the holiday season to ensure their kids have a joyful Christmas morning.  People sacrifice part of their gift giving and relaxation to volunteer their time in soup kitchens to give the homeless and poor a nice hot meal.  Then Christmas ends, decorations come down, and we all go back to our normal, everyday lives.

It’s wonderful to be generous with your time and your money around the holiday season and there is absolutely nothing negative that can be said about anyone who is willing to give to someone in need.  The thing no one seems to think about is what happens after the last big bag of discarded wrapping paper and toy boxes is taken away on the garbage truck and the last pine needle is vacuumed off the living room carpet.  Our lives continue on as normal but those people who received a bit of help in December go back to having little to nothing.

It’s not our responsibility to help those in need and in no way am I trying to make anyone feel guilty about not doing anything other than drop their spare change into a bucket outside of Walmart or donate mittens to a poor family.  It’s simply a nice thing to do and Christmas is a holiday that makes us more aware of the need to give.  Christmas is also a holiday where our wallets look anorexic due to the large amount of cash we drop on gifts and get-togethers, trips and treats, and all the things that make the holiday season so (expensively) special.  On top of that, we feel an obligation to be charitable because of the multitude of people asking for it and giving towards it.

I’m proposing that we don’t let this charitable spirit die out simply because the weather is getting warmer and Christmas carols have been shelved until next year.  For your family, don’t hesitate to surprise one with a gift, a special meal, or just give them a night off from their normal daily tasks and chores.  Donate a dollar when asked at groceries stores or Petsmart.  One of my coworkers has “adopted” a family for 2012; they lost the primary breadwinner in a tragic accident, leaving the wife and her six children to fend for themselves.  She is organizing about a dozen people who will donate small items and cash throughout the year for birthdays, gas, groceries, and other necessities and luxuries.  There are countless little things we can all do year round to help others and every single thing that is done, regardless of how big or small, makes a huge difference for someone out there.

Being selfish for a minute, reaching out to the less fortunate and giving a helping hand is honestly one of the easiest ways to obtain that warm and fuzzy feeling inside.  The mornings I volunteered at a soup kitchen in Connecticut were amazing; not only did my assistance guarantee a hot breakfast and some entertainment for the residents of the shelter and those coming in off the streets, but it made me feel great about myself.  We’re all a bit self-serving with our actions, so why not do some good for others while helping ourselves?

I volunteered to assist the family that my coworker is adopting for 2012 and I’m excited to be doing it.  It’s small, won’t take up much time or money, but will help seven people during a difficult time in their lives and hopefully give them hope that things will get better.  I’m no saint and I can manage to do something, so I hope at least one person who happened to stop by and read this will do the same and take a little bit of action after the new year arrives.  The small actions of many can add up to make a big difference.  We just have to take that first step.

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on December 25, 2011, in Family, Friends and/or Enemies, Life, Love, Money, Work and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I gave a dollar to Salvation Army and we’ve taken at least 10 bags of stuff to Goodwill. I think we did well with charity this December.

  2. Will probably be interesting to see what other people may say.

  3. Superb information. Keep up the very first rate work.

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