Isn’t that what this time is all about? You give something to the ones you love…. and you get something back.
My parents always made a huge deal out of Christmas growing up. I credit that to why I love this time of year so much (second only to Halloween haha ;p). They had the house looking all lit up Griswold style (no exaggeration!), tons of delicious holiday baking, and presents galore! I used to love giving people gifts and of course enjoyed getting them back. The older I get, the more I get away from this habit. I still tend to buy gifts for my mom and niece and my in-laws, but that’s basically it. I try to make homemade gifts for my friends (the sweet treat variety) and my husband and I have been getting in the habit of using money we would normally spend on buying gifts for each other and donating it instead.
And this year, I did something a little different.
This year I gave some of my time. As I don’t work, I have a lot of free time to volunteer. A few months ago, I started volunteering with the Sunnyvale Community Services. I get up a little early Monday mornings, bike on over to their location and help give out food to those less fortunate. In the afternoons, I sometimes help out accepting donations from groups & individuals and anything else they might need help with. My favourite so far – The Christmas Center.
They started collecting donations in the fall to help those less fortunate in the community. Toys for the kids, books for families, non-perishables to keep stomachs happy over the holidays and small appliances.
I got to help organise the event by wrapping gifts & scheduling appointments for families to come in. Then I got to escort people through the centre to pick out gifts for their families. The majority of people organising the event were volunteers. Just people from the community wanting to help others out.
We even had a local choir group come in and play some holiday music.
What I got to take? Warm, fuzzy feelings of course! Helping others always makes me feel great. And everyone there was so grateful. Everyone coming through thanked me profusely for being there and helping out. I had lots of hugs and well wishes and blessings. And I even had a teary-eyed husband and father thank me and letting me know that his family would have no Christmas if it weren’t for people like me.
I also feel incredibly grateful. It reminds me of how very fortunate I am. I’m lucky to have a roof over my head (a few of the people I helped weren’t as lucky as me), and food on my table. I always have warm clothes and can afford to buy the things I need. I hope you have the same luxuries too. And if you have a little extra time or money this holiday season – consider using it to help others in your neighbourhood.