Friday, December 20, 2013

Spreading the Holiday Cheer

I feel like I've been talking a lot lately about the importance of giving back. Well, I hope you're not tired of this topic, as I drive home my point once again :) We've always made a point of giving back to our community in whatever ways we are able. My family is lucky to live a comfortable life, with relatively good health and lots of love, but not everyone is so lucky. We can show our gratitude by sharing our good fortune. And at this time of year the need becomes even more apparent.

As a blogger I am often the recipient of products sent to me for review, or items included in conference goodie bags, or sometimes even things that turn up on my doorstep on spec. My family and I can't use all of these things, so I keep a big storage container full of items "up for grabs." Sometimes my friends dig around in there and find things they need. Sometimes I can donate items to fundraisers. And, once a year, I sort through and choose items that would make good gifts. And these go to one or another of the local toy drives.

Toys, books, movies are all easy things to see as possible gifts. But I gather a lot of beauty items as well. It's not just the little kids that are looking under the tree on Christmas morning. So mascara, foundation, moisturizers, eye liners, pretty soaps, these all go as well. Some teenaged girl will be glad to receive them I'm sure. Gift cards are great to include in your donations as well, particularly for things like movies, or fast food. Teens, who are so hard to buy for, will appreciate and use these well. One message I've heard from the charities so often this year is "Don't forget the big kids!"

This year I had a good collection of products I received, as well as some items I picked up myself when I saw great deals. This bag of goodies from The Body Shop was a special Black Friday deal, just $25 with any $30 purchase. It's valued at over $100. Naturally I had to pick one up.

Mickey was also a special deal with purchase at the Disney Store. Just $10!

I dropped these off yesterday, along with some other items, and really hope they bring some joy come Christmas morning. Small and large. Big gifts and stocking stuffers alike.

Meanwhile, Little Boo's school was collecting for a local food bank, and they said they were in need of toiletries. As a P&G Mom I have received an amazing array of personal care products, so Boo and I dove into that and filled a big bag of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and brushes, mouthwash and more. These might not be the most obvious food bank items, but personal hygiene is pretty important, and these items can get pricey.

My message to you? Giving feels great! Do what you are able. If you don't have money for donations, can you give of your time? Maybe you can help at a food bank sorting donations, serve at a holiday meal, or visit with lonely seniors to spread some holiday cheer. If you don't have time, maybe you have some money, or some new and unused items you could gather and donate to a gift tree or a food charity. And if you have kids, involve them in our giving. Have them choose a toy for donation. Or, if they are old enough, take them along to volunteer their time. It's a wonderful way to share the joy and spirit of the holiday season!

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