Christmas Tales Of Giving And Receiving
Face it — we all have too much shit.
Look around your home. Is there any among us who does not need to seriously hoe out and divest ourselves of stuff? I am a minimalist — of sorts — and the sight of my closet causes me to hyperventilate.
Yet every year we search high and low in an attempt to give each other more STUFF. Gift giving has become about THINGS. Not about Charity. Not about Spirit. Not about Love.
Some of the most moving Gifts I have given and received have been Gifts Of The Spirit — given with a true sense of Charity Of Heart.
Every year in the parish I used to belong to we had a Giving Tree. This tree was covered in tags for gift requests from families in our community. Children and adults who truly NEEDED the basic necessities of Life. Not just the latest video game or electronic device. My children always took tags and picked out the Gifts. They were more excited to shop for those unknown strangers than members of our family. Even at a young age — they understood what the difference was with this GIFT. Need vs. Want.
The Marines distribute boxes every year — everywhere — for their Toys For Tots campaign where you can leave a new unwrapped toy for a child and give Santa a hand spreading Christmas Joy. I still do this every year. Shopping for toys is a Joy. I chose these Gifts with great care — looking for toys that will stand the test of time — toys that will give pleasure over the long haul, things without parts to be lost, or batteries that might need to be replaced. Knowing This Gift — My Gift — might be all that is under the tree come Christmas morning.
If someone on your list has been touched by a significant event and been aided by an organization in the past year — a charitable contribution to the organization can be a way of honoring their journey, recognizing the good deed done, and helping another family in need. When my daughter was ill, she got a ‘Wish’ from The Make-A-Wish Foundation, and for many years after many of our friends made contributions to this organization on behalf of our family and so other children would have the opportunity to also have a ‘Wish’. It was a Gift that meant more to us than any ‘thing’ they could have ordered from Amazon.
Reach out to your community and share your resources with those who Need this Christmas, not just those who Want. Look at your list with a critical eye and see if there are places you can double down on your giving. Is there a someone who would be grateful for you to contribute to the Susan Koman Foundation in honor of the sister they lost to breast cancer this summer? Is there a parent with a child newly diagnosed with juvenile diabetes who would be touched if you contributed to finding a cure?
Together we can make a larger difference in this world with our Gifts. With our Charity. With our Love.