Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Tag

The Season of Giving, You Have the Power to Make a Difference

This week officially kicks off the holiday season. This thursday we will prepare an obscene amount of food for our friends and families then eat until we pass out. Wake. Eat another piece of pie (or three). Pass out again. Eventually we put the left overs in the fridge and everyone goes home.

Then Black Friday, probably the most dreaded day of the year for retail employees. The gluttony of Thursday is met with greed, pride and further gluttony as countless parents, grandparents and lovers take to the stores to begin their holiday shopping. In their fury of Christmas shopping, everyone needs something. One month and hundreds of dollars later Christmas finally happens.

This is supposed to be a season dedicated to being grateful for the gifts we have and to spread joy, love and peace. Instead I am sitting at a job that can barely pay me to Facebook all day, thanking the heavens that its the Christmas season, because Lord knows there is no other reason to buy any of the crap that I monitor.

What have the holidays become? Days for us to fill our refrigerators full of food that we cannot possibly eat and buy crap that will likely be returned or thrown out in a year. We are raping our food resources while starving others and then polluting the earth with our consumerism. All the while we drop some change into the fish bowls of the Salvation Army Santas think that we are helping those less fortunate. The season of giving and gratitude has become a season of consumerism and greed!

I’m not saying that I don’t have a christmas list, I do. There are things I need and would prefer to have specific versions of the things I need. Likewise, I have Christmas lists for my friends. Things I know that they need or could use. But what about things that you can’t buy in a store?

In the spirit of giving I have a few suggestions of ways that you can enrich the lives of humans both in your community and around the world.

1. This is the easiest, donate to goodwill. Just go through your stuff, your kids’ toy box, your husbands 6 same sized ratchets, your teens thirty fully functioning hair straighteners, ect. Donate what you are not using. You’re just gonna get more crap soon anyways.

2. Donate your old glasses. Its a donation that will change the life of the receiver. Imagine a child whose education is halted because he can’t see the words in his book. A mother that has never clearly seen the faces of her children. An artist, a shop keeper, a seamstress, a wood worker, anyone who cannot see their craft an suffer financially. Here is a link to New Eyes for the Needy¬†http://neweyesfortheneedy.org/ to learn more.

3. Donate livestock to needy families around the world. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for life… the same holds true here. Heifer International is an organization that takes your donation, uses it to buy livestock for families in need and send it in the name of your loved ones. It could be a small donation like a flock of chickens or a big donation for a cow, llama or goat. To find out more about this wonderful organization, follow this link¬†http://www.heifer.org/homeview?msource=magento. They have a catalog so you can see the cost and benefits of each option.

4. Support American soldiers. There are plenty of ways. Trees for Troops is a donation programs to donate Christmas trees to the families of soldiers, treesfortroops.org. Or AnySoldier.com allows you to see what would be of use to our service men and women and how to donate. We can all agree it sucks to be alone for the holidays, imagine being in an active war zone, or having your loved one in an active war zone. Agree with the war or not, these soldiers and their families need love, otherwise their sacrifice is pointless.

5. Donate to your local Occupy Movement. Seriously, take them some warm Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Take them blankets and socks. Books and fresh water. It’s cold and wet out, take them hats, scarves, mittens and coats. Bring them coffee, hot tea or cocoa. If you have the means take them gas masks and padding for the occasional police raids. These people are standing up for humanity, protesting the things that have gone wrong with the world. They are present when you are not and they freeze for us. They go hungry for us. They sacrifice their comfort, suffer beatings and pepper spray for you.

6. Look around your community for other charities and talk to your canvassers. There are plenty of ways to offer your help and many more that have not been thought of. Set up a donation drive and get creative. Use the internet to help you, Facebook and Google will get you started.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it is with love in your heart and compassion in your soul. And finally, don’t stop making a difference just because Christmas is over.