Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tis the Season, already!

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is just 15 days away, and then Christmas right around the corner! It's certainly an exciting time of year!

All the fabulous holiday foods, spirit, family, and friends make the holidays extra special for us. Family traditions and things close to our hearts warm our home during this season, and who could forget all the lovely presents!?

In the excitement of all running around, shopping, decorating, and holiday parties, I think it's important to remember all that we really are thankful for and fortunate to have in our lives. I am truly blessed in many ways and am so thankful for my wonderful family, friends, and all the conveniences that make my life easy and comfortable. I am fortunate to have a wonderful job, work with great people, and, most importantly, to have good health - especially now in my 8th month of pregnancy. I am also fortunate to be pregnant with our first child. After having undergone fertility treatments in order to conceive, it's something I will never take for granted. I am beyond grateful or the gift I have been given!

In the age of iPad's, smartphones, hi-tech computers, gadgets, fancy cars, nice clothes, and other "unnecessary" (although fun) items, I think there is nothing that can replace the feeling you get when you help another to enjoy their holidays a little bit more. What could be better than putting a smile on a child's face, or make someone who is lonely and feeling blue, feel a little brighter?

I'm posting today to encourage all to do something nice for someone else this season. Whether it's holding a door open, buying the person in line next to you at the coffee shop a fresh cup of Joe, attending a charity event, or being kind to someone who has not been kind to you; any act of kindness goes a long way. Last year my cousin sent an email out to some friends and family asking for their support and help for a family in her area that needed a helping hand. The family had two small children and both parents had been laid off from their jobs. The money they were earning from unemployment barely covered their mortgage and other bills. They had very little to give their children for Christmas, and needed any extra money they could scrounge up to put in their gas tank in order to get to job interviews. I felt for the family and thought that since my husband and I were both working and very fortunate to have good jobs, that we should help in some way. I sent the family a Visa gift card in a Christmas card. I did not include my personal information; just a note to let them know that I had heard about their situation and hoped that the gift would help them - even if to just get by.

I don't know what happened to the family, but I am certain that, with the help from others as well, they were well taken care of this past holiday season. I'm hoping to find a family in need this year as well.

Here are some places you might want to contact if you are able to help a person/child/family in your own community:

1. Your local church, synagogue, or other house of worship
2. Local schools. I am certain if you call and mention that you'd like to donate gifts to a family less fortunate they will point you in the right direction. Often times schools have special drives for organizations like Toys for Tots
3. Hospitals. While I am not sure if hospitals take direct donations for supplies, I do know that some hospitals accept donations of baby clothes (some for still-born babies). Also, you could be directed to a charity within the hospital that might know of a family that needs help with medical bills, etc.
4. Local soup kitchens and food shelters. I am sure you can do an Internet search and find one or more in your area that accepts donations.

One last thing to keep in mind. Before you head out and shop, go ahead and make sure that what you are purchasing is, indeed needed. Often times people get into the spirit of giving (which is great!) but they purchase things that are less needed than others items. It's always best to directly contact the charity, organization, or family (or friend of the family) and ask what is needed most before spending any amount of money.

I hope that by reading this, some will decide to give to another - even if it's just something small. It's our duty to be kind to one another and to help those in need; without asking for credit for it or recognition. There's no better feeling that knowing you did something for another that did not require recognition. Just do it, you'll feel great and you'll help someone else out.