Christmas is such a beautiful time of year - full of love and light, family and friends. There's good food and festive cocktails, presents and music and laughter. But unfortunately not for everyone. For some, poor health, distance from loved ones, or bad financial circumstances make Christmas not so bright. We should always be grateful for our blessings - good health, a roof over our heads, enough food on the table, gifts under the tree, love - but at this time of year it especially hits home.
Our family is lucky to have all we do, and we do try to give back to others who might need a hand, whenever we are able. I believe it's our responsibility to look out for each other. At Christmas in particular, we make a financial donation to support the outreach work of the Salvation Army, as well as donating toys to their gift drive for needy families in the community. This year I bought some toys to donate, but also went through the "swag" I received at conferences and events, and review products that were sent to me as a blogger, and picked out an assortment of things I thought would be appropriate. Since I sell Avon, I also have a good stash of Avon cosmetics, perfumes, bubble baths, etc. Our donation included a lot of these items, so we covered off some gifts for teenagers and moms as well as kids. The toy drives always seem to be lacking in gifts for older boys and girls, so it's something to keep in mind.
I was happy to see that Little Boo's school was collecting for a local food bank this season. I brought him shopping to pick out some canned soups and stews with good protein, plus some treats to include. I also sent along a bag of Pampers I received as a P&G Mom. (Thankfully we are beyond the diaper stage now!)
His school is also collecting books for a new school that is being built in Africa (I forget exactly where). We went through Little Boo's collection and put together a big box of beginning reader books to send along. I made a point of including him in these activities, and we talked about why our donations were important. I'm hoping to instill a spirit of giving and gratitude in him so that he will continue doing what he can as he grows up and has a family of his own.
Many points programs also have charitable giving options, so if you don't want to redeem for yourself, you can use your points to help others. As a P&G Mom, I was given 2000 Pampers Gifts to Grow points to use as I wished - I could redeem for a reward for me or my family, or I could choose a donation option instead. Last month I actually donated the remaining 460 points left in my account from diaper days to the charity Toys for Tots. This time, I chose to donate my points to The Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths.
For nearly 40 years, the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (CFSID) has been Canada's only national foundation solely focused on SIDS, and also dedicated to reducing infant mortality and other sudden and unexpected infant and child deaths including stillbirth and miscarriage. Since our inception in 1973, we have pursued our mission through research, advocacy and a peer-to-peer bereavement support network to assist families who have faced the tragic loss of an infant.For every 10 Gifts to Grow points donated, Pampers will donate 10 cents to CFSID. So my 2000 point donation gave them $20 to support their work in research, advocacy, and bereavement assistance. I feel good about that.
Whether you are in the lucky position to be able to make a large monetary donation, or to "adopt a family" for Christmas, or you can bake some goodies for an elderly neighbour or shovel their walk when the snow comes (it will!), please think of ways you can reach out to others, to help make their holidays a little brighter and easier this year. Spread the love and the joy! Your own Christmas will be so much brighter for it, I promise!
Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are always my own.