With baby boomers at the helm, American society’s record of giving in recent years, even with the recession, has gone up up up. That’s why we like Tam Warner Minton’s ideas about this holiday season. As she says from Dallas, ‘Tis the Season of Giving.
Our family has always celebrated Christmas in a big way. Some would say in an excessive way. But I ask, what is wrong with excess (tempered by reason, of course)? I LOVE buying people gifts, and there is nothing more exciting for me than to see them opened. I love decorating (I usually have 3 Christmas trees along with Chanukah decorations), I love wrapping, I enjoy giving. Doing a Big Christmas comes from a lifetime of tradition. There is no way I would ever give it up.
And I come by it honestly. My grandmother’s house was tiny, but at Christmas, the gifts were piled so high, they were almost over our heads! Some of the most magical moments of my life were spent in that tiny house at Christmas time … it was crowded with family, smelled heavenly from the almost constant Kentucky cooking (fried, of course), and the Christmas tree was always a marvel to us.
My parents always had a huge Christmas too for my brother and me; my brother was constantly sneaking around trying to find all his gifts before they were wrapped. But not me; I wanted to be surprised, so I rarely looked.
I have always loved the anticipation of Christmas morning! These family traditions mean the world to me, but I never forget that there are those who will receive little, or nothing at all. Our world, so full of wonder and beauty, is also sadly filled with people who are much less fortunate. There are causes everywhere, and many of them are worthy of our consideration. All through the year we must be conscious of those less fortunate, but at holiday time, there is simply no question that we should reach out and give to those in need. I cannot bear the thought of a child waking up on Christmas morning without a present.
My family does what we can. Every year we participate in providing for a family in need. We have chosen the Genesis Women’s Shelter for abused women. The holidays must be so difficult for a traumatized mother and her child(ren) … it is so hard to imagine. Women’s shelters are always in need, but especially during the holidays. We adopt a family from the shelter for the holidays. We give gifts and provide for necessities, and also send food to a local food bank.
I urge you to do something similar, wherever you live. What a wonderful lesson for your children or grandchildren. I used to take my kids shopping and let them choose toys for our “family.” Then they sometimes came with me to drop off the gifts. Yes, we have an excessive Christmas, but I make sure it is not a selfish Christmas.
By giving, we enhance not only the lives of others, but also our own. This year, please join us and spread good cheer by giving to others! Make it a family activity … you’ll be glad you did!
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