And so this is Christmas....

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  1. ...and what have you done?

    Just curious - this time of year, do any of you give back? It's the season of giving - so many people have so little? I don't want to come off holierthanthou - I just want to know b/c I want to hear some good ideas.

    I feel so fortunate, I have never had to want for anything in my life - I have never "gone without". I just find that our lives become so busy - there are so many people to buy for, so much to do on top of our already SO busy lives... But I really want to do something meaningful too.

    DH and I take our kids on a shopping spree to a toy store, and then donate all the stuff to charity. But that's just STUFF. I feel like I should DO something... anyone have good ideas?
  2. I have several times taken my dog to the nursing homes on Christmas. The elderly love it, Brewster eats it up (my dog) and I love talking to and hearing stories from our elders. :flowers:
  3. What a sweet thing to do (letting your kids pick out toys for charity)! Here are a few really small things I've done in the past. I'm in the same boat, I'd love to think up something to do charity-wise this holiday season:

    -make cookies for shut-ins (a lot of churches deliver them during the holidays)
    -angel tree (I'm thinking of doing this again, it's nice because a lot of the requests are for clothing plus a gift, so you're really helping out with winter outfitting)
    -pet the dogs and cats at the humane society (you can also bring ping pong balls for the cats, they're so cheap, easy to sanitize, and the cats love them)
    -volunteer at a soup kitchen (oddly enough, the one in my area is very well-stocked with volunteers during the holiday season, so the soup kitchen was more appreciative of cash rather than labor donations when I went).

    Local churches also seem to have plenty of programs running during the holidays, even if you're not religiously inclined you might check with one to see if you can volunteer.

    Hope this helps!
  4. That is so great - the convent (yes, convent) that I used to work at had a lot of elderly nuns as residents, and they had a dog. The dog was wonderful with these women, didn't care what the hand that petted him looked like. Dogs are awesome. *sniff* sometimes I want one!
  5. When I was 13 my dad took me to volunteer at a soup kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. It was an eye-opener for me (at 13) for sure. A homeless man proposed to me. I know they're swamped this time of year - best to show up when things slow down. I definitely plan to take my kids to one, when they're old enough to understand. I'm sure it'll help put their lives in perspective.

    We can't be the ONLY ones on this forum who want to do something more meaningful than shop?!?

  6. One of the most direct and effective things you can do is identify need that exists on or near your doorstep.

    Even if your neighbors are all well-to-do, if you work outside the home, there may be more people in need around you than you realize. There could be people in your workplace employed in low-level jobs whose token wage falls short of the purchase price of the basics, much less holiday extras.

    The people from whom you buy coffee in the morning, serve you lunch, wash the dishes afterward - sometimes just thinking about things and looking around you can be a great way to get some ideas for sharing your good fortune without bureacracy or bulky middlemen. With the gap between haves and have-nots at such an extreme, the amount you might spend on one shopping spree or a weekend's recreation might easily be able to change a life!

    I posted some more ideas, including some for those with more modest means, in a thread in the Money section, here is the link:
  7. ^^
    You might be out "Friendly Resident Poor Person" but your soul is rich and your motives pure.:heart:
  8. Shimma - I am so glad there are people like you (and other kind-souls) in this forum. Thank you!! You consistently provide a little reality-check for me. I am going to check out your thread in a bit when I have more time to concentrate on it. ;)
  9. I used to love to do the "Angel Tree" when we lived in the U.S. It was so nice...I especially liked when I would get an adult, because the items were so "necessary", and it would be fun to get the extra "fun" things and imagine them having gifts to open on X-mas.
  10. I usually do the Toys for Tots thing, but may I recommend that everyone check on the elderly people that live around them? Many of them are alone and going out in the cold is difficult for them. A bag of groceries for those on fixed incomes is also very welcome.
  11. How do you find them? I'd hate to show up to someone's door and hear, "you think I'm OLD???!!!" Slam!
  12. I think you have a lot of nerve to judge anyone. I, and my close family, do charity but imo the best part of doing charity is helping others. Charity is not a contest nor is it a title or badge to wave around. So, there may be a lot more doing things that choose to be modest about it.
  13. Oh, no, I don't actively seek them. For example, I once lived next door to someone who was 75 years old and didn't have any close family around. Every time I would go to the grocery store I merely asked if she wanted me to bring back anything. She used to say that getting around during the winter was difficult because of the snow. She was always afraid of slipping and breaking a hip, even though she was fiercely independent. I just wanted to bring up the plight of the elderly. If anyone has someone like this living near them, I just wanted to suggest to keep an eye on them.:smile:
  14. We 'adopt' a family, do dinner and gifts, etc. We also sent lots of packages to the soldiers about a month ago, to make sure they would get there in time.

    Usually the toys for tots and donations through the kids schools!
  15. We donate toys usually too as well contribute to some charities. I was part of the Meals on Wheels organisation as well visiting some elderly people every Sunday, I have to say they were some of my most gratifying experiences ever ( I think I got more out of it than they did!) and I hope to instill that in my daughter in the future.