For about 10 months out of the year, I can’t even bear to think of the holiday season. The long list of things to do, the frantic shopping, the pressure to get the right gift, the cards sent, the lights hung, the tree decorated and bringing all the crap down from the attic nearly gives me an anxiety attack.
But then, just about before Thanksgiving, I catch the sound of a holiday tune or the whiff of pine. The temperatures drop and there is something about a silent, chilly, moonlight night that fills me with the anticipation of Christmas. It’s not long before I’ve jumped on that crazy train and, without a second thought, start planning, dashing, decorating, ordering and, yes, even cooking… all this while humming, singing, and generally be-bopping to the classic holiday tunes that fill me with pure happiness.
Amidst all the frenzy, however, I am keenly aware of families out there who are not as fortunate as I am and make a special effort to give back in meaningful ways.
This year at our church, we have a Angel Tree for children in need through the Friends of Wake County Guardian ad Litem program. The kids were hand selected by the social workers who work with them and their families. The two kids that we chose are 3 years old and 17 years old. The younger is in temporary custody with his biological mother on a trial basis. He asked for toy trucks and I’m sure his mom asked for the clothes that were on the list. The 17 year old is in foster care and trying to apply for college. She asked for gift cards and clothes.
Buying for these kids is so touching and heartwarming. Knowing that they’ll have a little extra something during the holiday season is tremendously rewarding. If you don’t have access to an angel tree through work or in your community, here are a few other options of great organizations aimed to help kids and families during the holidays:
- The Salvation Army has several Angel Trees at various malls in the triangle region. View their locations & times as well as more information about clothing drives and “online adoption” opportunities.
- Interact of Wake County provides support to victims of domestic violence and is calling for holiday gifts for children and mothers. View the info sheet with more details.
- Passage Home “31 Families, 31 Days” aims to offer housing assistance to needy families.
- Toys for Tots is always collecting toys for children. View the drop off information in Wake County or use the search feature to find a location near you.
- Of course, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC is holding a Holiday Meals Drive that aims to collect enough in donations to provide 1.7 million meals for needy families. View the ways you can support this effort and even make a gift in honor of friends or family members.
I also stumbled on an awesome list of holiday crafts and projects that “Give Back” from Parents Magazine. Ideas include bringing goodies to nursing homes, putting together care packages for Operation Christmas Child, making “kindness” paper chains, food gifts and collecting change for charity.
There is no better way to express the spirit of giving than partnering with one of these fine organizations. It is absolutely true that every little bit helps. These meaningful efforts will certainly fill you with joy knowing you’ve helped a child or family in need.
So: Deck the Halls… Make Merry… and Jingle All The Way!
Happy Holidays to you and yours.