Every year at this time, I am amazed how differently adults and children experience the holiday season.
When I was young, I remember Christmas being a time of magic and mystery: everything was perfect! For the week-and-a-half of vacation from school, we spent our days sledding, building snowmen (and later, snow forts), and would watch with excitement as the stack of presents under the tree grew larger each night.
When I became an adult, the snow and the season had become far less appealing. Christmas shopping and wrapping presents consumed most of my free time. I agonized over what gifts to buy my parents, siblings, and in-laws, and wondered does it even matter? I worried would Dad appreciate the cordless drill I got him as much I enjoyed (cough cough) receiving a weed wacker? Despite our best intentions, we resorted more and more on giving and getting gift cards. What was the point of it?
This year, my family is trying something different. My children and their kid cousins will all receive the normal pile of gifts – toys, clothes, etc. – but for the adults, we will be making donations to charities in each other’s honor instead. We’re already enjoying the reduction of shopping anxiety and fewer trips to the mall, and we will not miss standing in long return lines, or stockpiling those unused gift cards in our wallets. (And speaking of magic and mystery, it shouldn’t take us an hour to pack up the car after dinner on Christmas night!)
We will be practicing what I believe Christmas really is all about: celebrating the blessings we have received by helping others in need. The surprise bonus: it feels really good.
As we enter the last few weeks of this holiday season, consider becoming one of the growing number of families using this approach to redefine the season: for yourselves, and for your children (believe me, they won’t want a weed wacker in 30 years either). As you do, I hope you will consider Goodwill when selecting your financial charitable gifts.
For over 60 years, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan has helped thousands of people in West Michigan with barriers to employment find, and keep, good jobs in our communities. By providing opportunities for people to earn their own income, we help them experience the dignity that comes with independence: the ability to provide for themselves and their families, and make a meaningful contribution to society.
Giving to Goodwill couldn’t be much easier either: just click on the “Donate Online” tab at the top of our homepage at www.goodwillwm.org, and you can complete the process on a few easy steps. You can even let us know who you are honoring with your gift, so we can provide them with an acknowledgement of your giving.
Giving to those you love by giving to others in need: sounds like a gift that keeps on giving, doesn’t it?
May you rediscover the magic of the season as I have!