Monday, November 30, 2009

Fun Monday - the Giving Season

Hey, I'm hosting this week and wanted to pick a subject that I've been mulling over myself.  Perhaps I can pick up some good ideas from you!  The challenge:

How will you express your inner-Giver this season? Do you donate to a major charity? Do you serve food in a soup kitchen? Is your generosity something private that you do without recognition or do you hand the guy on the corner a dollar whenever you drive by?

Not only do I want to know what you do, but how you do it, why you do it, and a story about your activity and how it made you feel.

This is something I'm having a little trouble with this year.  We are not rich, but usually we're at least comfortable enough to put a couple of hundred dollars into giving something back this time of year.  Between several financial issues this past year, we are not that comfortable this year - and I am casting about for some way to give back without putting too much hurt on us at the same time.

In past years, my husband and I have worked hard to instill the joy of giving in our son.  Since he was little, we would involve him in our efforts.  At first he didn't quite get it.  Then I hit on the idea of dressing up as Santa, dressing him as an elf - and we would go shopping for Toys for Tots. 

I asked him to think about what he might like, what he might find important if we didn't have a home or very little money.  I also asked him to think about if he was a girl what might appeal to him.  He got very good at picking out comforting toys for the majority, with a few whiz-bang kind of toys thrown in.  We would put everything in a big bag and drop it off at either a drop-off station or go directly to the Marine's building to drop it off in their gymnasium.  This fulfilled my need to teach my boy and give back to the community - but it was also a lot of fun.  The costume would draw comments from other shoppers and checkers, but my favorite was coming around a corner in ToysRUs to find a sleepy little girl nodding in a cart while her mom was looking at something.  She spotted me out of the nearly-closed eyes which popped open wide and in a stage whisper told her mom, "Mommy!  Santa and the Elves SHOP here!!!"  Mom whirled around and spotted us.  I explained that there were so many requests this year that the elves were working overtime already and I was just trying to lighten the load a little.  Then I asked the little girl what she wanted for Christmas (Mom was having a tough time).  I always made it a policy to never touch the children, but waved to them and talked to them.  Sometimes I'd get a hug, if the parents said okay - and sometimes the parents hugged me too.  That it was a female voice coming out of the beard never seemed to bother anyone.  And my son got to see it all.

The last couple of years, he's been a little embarrassed by the suit, so we just went as people to do our shopping - but he got the point.  It's not about the suit, it's about the giving.

So to this year...  I don't have money to spare, but I do have skills!  During a big cleanout of my closets, I discovered quite a lot of remnant material - and a pattern for making teddy bears.  So I think this year, I will be making teddy bears to give to Toys for Tots rather than buying stuff.  My son can help me dress them and make them special.  And he can learn that you can give, even if you don't have money to donate.

Now go visit these other giving people and see what they've got up their sleeves for the holiday season!!!

Cynical Girl
Margaret (the Misanthrope)

P.S.  Cynical Girl is going to be our host for next week!


Janis said...

What a great way of teaching your son about giving. Your very resourceful and making teddy bears are a wonderful gift for little ones. Homemade gifts are from the heart!

Gattina said...

That's a wonderful idea ! Here in my town the children were asked to give away all toys they didn't play with anymore to offer them at Christmas to children in need. You should have seen the mountain of toys the children brought ! I think they were enough to open 3 toy shops and for all ages. It was wonderful this generosity of the kids.

Low Tide said...

An observation was made once during a church collection ceremony. A wealthy Pharisee gave a tenth of what he had. A poor widow gave two copper coins. Who gave more?

Can we trust God enough to give all that we have and rely on his Grace alone to sustain us? It is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.

Heads up!! We are all rich men and women.

Christ says to secure our place in heaven all we have to do is sell all that we have and give it to the poor, then follow him. Can you imagine a society in which the “Haves” give to the “Have nots”? After awhile the rolls would reverse until all the wealth was distributed evenly and there was no one in need. Is this not an image of heaven?

One problem, I am a sinner and by my own power can DO nothing to save myself from my sinful condition. The wages of sin is death so with the disciples I ask – “Who then can be saved”? But like the disciples I will take comfort in Christ’s response that with God nothing is impossible.

Lord help me quiet my mind to hear your words and give to others the encouragement that’s been given me. Amen!!

Instead of saying “What’s in your Wallet?” ask “What’s in my heart?”

wendishness said...

I love this idea of yours, what a great one and such an important lesson for your son. Even while you can't afford much this year, you've come up with a great alternative!

Great post and thanks for hosting this week.

Pamela said...

I'd love to go shopping with you -- dressed up, too. what a hoot.

Sorry I didn't write this week. I got the stomach flu and it just didn't want to leave I'm sort of weary.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like fun! A great way to teach that giving to others doesn't have to be just a dreary duty.

Sandcastle Momma said...

You are so cool! I want to come hang out with you one day LOL
I laughed out loud at the idea of the little girl saying that Santa shopped there LOL
What a great example you've set for ZBoy and not being able to buy as much this year will show him that help can be in the form of time and energy as well.

Faye said...

Sayre, you're such a good mom. And this is exactly what giving is all about--putting yourelf in others' shoes and trying to figure out what they want/need. I too am making some homemade gifts for friends who have too much "stuff" already.

Sorry I didn't get up a Fun Monday post--will do it later in the week. I have a bit of dog silliness going that I wanted to keep on top of my blog for a few more days.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you all know my question for the coming Fun Monday is up now:


grace said...

Wow that is a great idea Sayre. Thanks for checking on me. I am fine, just so busy, trying to make extra money for bills and exams are next week.