This has been weighing heavily on my mind, and since blogging is what I do to scratch most itches I get, here it is:
I've been reading stories about how the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program is suffering this year, partially due to the drastic increase of the number of people needing its assistance, and partially due to the drastic decrease in the number of people who are selecting angels from the tree.
That really makes me one sad cookie.
To think of those children waking up on Christmas morning to nothing, or next to nothing...What kind of Christmas is that? Now, I'm not saying all kids should get a Wii, or even a bicycle, but something, even if it's a Dollar Store $1 doll. I know lots of people say
"We struggled through tough times, and never asked for assistance, and don't see why we should help someone else."
Well, that's just not my train of thought. I believe that sometimes people simply catch a bad break in life and one bad break can place them in a situation where suddenly their kids are facing Christmas with no presents and possibly no dinner. To me, Christmas is just another day, but for kids, it's magical. I like to do what I can to preserve that magic for as long as possible.
Illustration by Sheri Doty
Besides, even if it's a case where any of the million and 5 reasons in which the parents were totally to blame for the financial crimp they've found themselves in right now, how is that this kid's fault? And isn't a child who received a Christmas memory, via the donations of strangers, more likely to grow up remembering it, cherishing that memory, and paying it forward? After all, those who receive help are most likely to provide help when their time comes. To me, that's what the Christmas season is about, that's what Christmas spirit is. Not how many gifts I can buy my loved ones, or how many I can get them to buy me. It's a time of giving.
Did you know that in Middle Tennessee, last year the Angel Tree Program provided Christmas to 8,000 angels. This year, they have 14,000 signed up. And what's worse, is that the angels are sitting on the trees at the malls and grocery stores, waiting to be selected, and there is serious concern that many will not. Understandably, with the recession and cut backs and lay offs...but really, come on. We can do better for our neighbors, don't you think? I do. I'm not rich. I don't have bookoos of surplus cash to spend, I've seen the retirement plan dwindle with the failing stock market, just like you. But Wifester and I had a discussion, and here's the plan we came up with. We cut back on some superfluous spending, decided to forgo the salon trip and take our chance with a $10.00 haircut, and opted for some store brands rather than name brands on items that we usually don't already do that with, in exchange we select a couple of angels from the angel tree...It's not much, but what we save by these small measures will provide a couple of someones with some fond Christmas memories, and isn't that what it's all about?
So here's my challenge...
I challenge each and every one of you to make some minor concessions, some small, temporary sacrafices so that you can select an angel to help this year. Are you up for the challenge?
Everyone who does it should leave me a comment, or write about it on your blog, but still leave me a comment so I know you're in... then I'll choose one of you, at random, to be the winner of a prize! Deadline to let me know you are participating is 12/15 and the winner will be announced on 12/17.
How's that sound? Mark your calendars and remember to let me know!
Ready? It's on!