Those of you who actually read “almostenough” have probably discovered how important Christmas is to me. It is a time where life is supposed to come into focus. The magic seems to fade a little more every year. Even though it is slipping away, I refuse to let go. I refuse to let this season become all about consuming food and gifts. Most of all, I refuse to become one of those people who sleep-walks through this beautiful time of year.
What can a girl do? Each year, I seem to have more adult responsibilities and more on my mind. Jobs, bills and grades cloud my once peaceful relationship with Christmas. In high school, a viewing of my favorite Christmas movie (Eloise at Christmastime) and some peppermint stick ice cream would do the trick. Today, it takes more to get me into the Christmas spirit. Maybe it is because I am more aware of the suffering of others and maybe it is simply because I let myself give-in to the anxiety that family time brings me- either way, when this Christmas season began I knew I had to do something.
Sometime in November, I decided to “give Christmas away.” I stopped to consider what I believed in and what was important to me at this point in my life. After some reflection, I decided that I wanted to do something for children, women and my community. I started to google (isn’t that how all good things begin?) and I found a small non-profit ministry in Georgia that gathers Christmas wishes from families going through hard times. Reading through the descriptions of how each family ended up in their unique and desperate positions made my heart heavy. So many people need help. I am only one shopaholic.
I chose a family that lived in my area and was starting over after escaping an abusive relationship. I’ll never meet these people for their own safety, but I hope that my mission to find Christmas spirit and give Christmas away will make a difference. The children’s lists were small and simple- two gifts and things that were necessary to start over- underwear, socks, shampoo…
Any one who knows me personally knows that I go big or I take my big butt back home. I decided to rally the troops. Between my family, the angels in my graduate program and friends, we got everything on the lists and then some. I found myself making hard decisions that this woman has to make for herself and her children every day. As my beautiful friends would ask “how can I help?”, I would have to decide what this family needed most. Do I ask them to buy a warm coat or food, tampons or socks? All of these things I take for granted were important to this family and who am I to decide what they need most? What a wake up call.
Helping this family helped me. I spoke to people willing to give whom I haven’t heard from in a while. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people willing to help me help this family without a second thought. I can never feel alone at Christmas time again because I know wonderful people are waiting in the wings to support me. What more could I ask for?
In an hour, the couple that runs this ministry will come to my house, pick up the Christmas I collected (with a TON of help) and drive it to the safe house this family is staying in. An empty government issued apartment. I am sitting in a leather recliner in a beautiful room surrounded by artifacts from all over the world. How in the world can I feel like I am losing my Christmas spirit when I am cozy and safe and full? Maybe Christmas isn’t this rosy, warm feeling that you get when you watch a movie about Santa, maybe it is the way you behave and carry yourself during a season that reminds others of what they do not have.
I hope this post can give you “almostenough” inspiration to give a little of your own Christmas away. Even if you just drop a dollar in the Salvation Army bucket or bring some clothing to a homeless shelter, the fact remains that a single spark can light a fire, or burn down your Christmas tree.
I would love to hear about the charitable acts you took part in this holiday season in the comments below!