Although not a scrooge, I am not always thrilled when this time of the year comes around. Besides Christmas and Chanukah, most of my family birthdays fall out in December. I find this to be stressful. Every where I look there is an ad for this or that. It almost seems like we push (or are pushed) to get bigger, and better of everything. I think I heard it referred to as “super-sizing our world.” This craziness is always apparent on Black Friday when you can see many videos of people fighting for a cheaply made coffee maker that they don’t really need, yet will punch someone in the face to make sure they get.
So this year we decided to go smaller. We are not going to spend Christmas Eve with family. It becomes so overwhelming. There are too many presents and to be honest, I still have some gifts from last year that have never been played with. Couple that with the fact that it is also my daughters birthday, well I can go into meltdown mode. Not only are we going small, I decided that I wanted to give back this year.
I have mentioned in many post an organization named 180 Turning Lives Around. This wonderful place was my safe haven when I was dealing with the fall out of a very abusive relationship I have wanted to help out there so many times but have never really been able to get my feet wet. I finally had my opportunity as December began. Every year this amazing place has what they call a “Christmas Shop.” They gather brand new toys, clothes, and other items, and they have their current and past clients come to the office and “shop” for Christmas presents for their families. There is no charge. It is amazing. There is nothing like the feeling that the holidays and birthdays are coming and you can not afford even the littlest thing for the kids, and the relief to know that at least this one small everyday chore will be hassle and stress free.
I decided to put together a toy drive at my job. For the the past two weeks I have been collecting items that have been placed in a bin in the front entrance of my office. One group took this charity by the horns and really came through for us. When the manager realized that the donations were slow, he decided to give his workers an incentive. He bought a Galaxy Tab 2 and for every $5 that someone donated, they got a raffle ticket. The response was amazing. Gift cards, clothing. toys, movies, and books were donated. I was overjoyed today when I was able to back up my van and bring all those items into the office.
Tomorrow I will be going back to the office to help out when the clients come in and go “shopping,” I was warned that it may be a little overwhelming, but that is fine with me. Sometimes we all need that “jolt” back into appreciation to really remember what this time of the year is about. Giving is far better that receiving and I am so glad that I can be part of the giving this year.