Monday, December 8, 2008


Those of you who know me know that I am not a religious person (by any stretch...I think growing up going to a catholic school ruined that forever...) but that I am a very spiritual person and that I am quite a giving person as well.
I have been told that I am "altruistic" (and think in a lot of ways I am [see - it's just not all the time and really so many people make me crazy I just can't actually wear that title completely!]). There have been times/circumstances where I've given more than I should have, have helped to the point of "hurting" myself (financially [i.e. taking loans out to give people money {which I have done several times...}]). Etc.

Below is a copy of an email (slightly edited) I sent to my friends and family: please read:

"Most of you know my family and I starting to STOP buying gifts for each other (less my sisters' kids) years ago: just wasn't worth it to exchange candles, sweaters, pocket knives etc.

I am a firm believer Christmas (as far as gift exchange) is for kids. I am (effective now-ish) opting out of exchanging gifts with adults!

I want to be clear that I love and appreciate all of you: truly. But as I look around the world and see things I wish didn't exist I am drawn to give where it is truly needed.

Some of you want; I know this. I do too; thing is, neither I, 'nor any of you that I am emailing need as much as those I am choosing to give to. It's quite simply: just that simple.

My own personal belief is that as far as adults go: Christmas is for dinners, coffees, pizza and movies, hanging out: just being together: your gift to me is your time and mine to you is my time (god: hope it's worth it!)!

I have already embarked on endeavors of putting funds that might have been allocated to all of you (gulp!) into funds that I am allocating to needy families (as designated by the reverend who supports the hot meal group I volunteer with [NO - i am NOT becoming religious .our group just happens to do our meal at a church and…at least there’s a good way to find/help deserving people...]).

I hope you don't mind. If you do - come volunteer with me once and you won't mind anymore.

I want to maintain certain traditions: dinners, pizza and movies, fall-down-stupid-drunk-night (duh!) etc... thing is: I appreciate you and your time much more than the gifts you might present to me.

If you're wondering what to do with the $5, $10, $15 etc. you might have spent on me for Christmas: please ask: we'll choose a charity together!

Thank you all for your attention here.
Thank you all for your understanding and do: email, call, question me should you have any qualms, concerns, or wants for information!

Happy Holidays!
I hope they find you fed, warm and surrounded by love!

I just wanted to share it with all of you.
Sometimes I think it is just so easy to forget about those in need when we're busy with our own hustle and bustle.

Times are tough: really tough: I know.
Most of us are lucky if we still have jobs (my company actually still gave out nice bonuses: the staff got 10% more than they did last year - hello?? that's luck!) but no matter how tough they are for you and yours - someone (I guarantee it) has it tougher.

It's not a contest - to see who is worse off, it's just a reminder that when you walk by the Salvation Army buckets, or see giving trees at local stores or coffee shops etc. - give: please.

The thing about giving: it's not selfless (anyone see that old episode of 'Friends'? ha!). You feel so good and every time you reflect on your giving you feel good.

I just donated about 20% of my net bonus check in grocery store gift certificates and in the form of gifts bought to 5 families in need. One on the verge of losing their house, two with extensive medical bills and lack of funds due to not being able to work - and frankly I forget why the rest were in need; it doesn't matter. I wanted to run into the lounge and yell at the top of my lungs when I delivered my donations (and I wanted to do more and more and more; and I still may!)! I still feel like a million bucks if I think about it right now!

Now...I am not a rich person: by any means. I still have a car payment, student loans, a personal loan: you know: debt. I don't have thousands in the bank (by any stretch). But I know at Christmas I normally spend $500 - $750 (remember: I get a bonus to help me do it!) and to be able to give so much of it away - in the name of my friends and family who are gracious enough to accept gifts of donations being made in their honor as Christmas gifts...well damn it's a good feeling!

Try It!
You needn't go to the extreme I did: instead of a single in the Salvation Army bucket - stick a five in there. Instead of sleeping in on Christmas Day - go to a local shelter, church etc. and serve a meal; open your gifts when you get home: they'll take on a whole new meaning. You don't have to have extra cash - you can donate your time (also a very valuable commodity these days!) - once, twice or regularly.

Here's the bottom line: if you're reading this chances are you have a roof over your head, your heat is on (even if there's plastic on the windows and you're still cold!) and there's food (even if it's not everything you want it to be) in your 'fridge. Aren't you lucky?

We're not in this world alone and no one got to where they are by themselves...
Pay it forward; do something.

No comments: