One morning, while we were in Mexico, I was reading through a Glamour magazine and came across their 31 Days of Giving feature. It’s something they do every year…a list of 31 charities to donate to or get involved with. Basically, ideas to use during the Christmas season to make the world a better place. Normally, I flip past the list or just skim it and then move on. This time, however, something on the page caught my eye and I ended up reading through the whole list. A few minutes later, J and I headed off to breakfast…but a tiny little seed of an idea had been planted in my brain.
When we came back from Mexico, J asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I thought about it for a few days and I came up with…nothing. I mean…jewelry is always nice…or a new handbag…but there isn’t anything I’m coveting this year. And there really isn’t anything I need either.
As we sat on Black Friday, looking through catalogs and scanning websites and reading the gift suggestions in magazines, searching for something to get one another, I realized that this year, gifts seems kind of…well, unnecessary. Last year we were just glad that my dad was even alive and we really did make the best of the holidays…but eating takeout in the hospital common room on Christmas Eve was no one’s idea of a perfect holiday. This year, our gift is that we are all going to be home together to celebrate and that seems like enough.
We were really lucky this year. My dad came home and is doing well. The rest of my family is doing well also. My brother and sister-in-law both have new jobs they enjoy. We had three new beautiful, healthy babies join our families. We are all safe, happy and healthy and we have everything we need. There are a lot of people who can’t say that.
So many people lost everything in Hurricane Sandy or because of the bad economy. So many people around us aren’t going to have a very happy holiday without a little help. We are blessed and fortunate…and to spend a lot of money on things that we don’t need just for the sake of buying each other presents doesn’t feel right to me. I feel that we should instead share some of our good fortune with people who really need it. I was discussing all of this with J and that is when the small seed of an idea I had in Mexico really became something.
I am still going to buy presents this year…but I’m going to do so on a smaller scale. I’m going to take the rest of the money I would normally spend on gifts and try to do some good. I was really inspired by Glamour’s 31 Days of Giving…so I’ve decided to do my own version of it here.
With a little help from my friends, I’ve come up with a list of 31 ways to give back. Starting tomorrow and for each day in December, I’m going to write about one of those ways. My hope is that at least a few other people will be inspired the way I was. So please come by here every day in December. If we all do a little something, maybe we can have a big effect.