When I was growing up our church had a Christmas Need Tree. It was a basic Christmas tree with little paper ornaments all over it. Each ornament had a request for a gift or two from a family or person who couldn’t afford Christmas gifts that year. My Mom always had my brother and I go to the tree and each of us picked out a person. Mom was always pretty clear that we were fortunate to have enough and extra and that we needed to give back to those in our community who hadn’t been as lucky as we were.
A few friends of mine have posted stories on Facebook about random acts of giving this holiday season – either they were the givers or they were the recipients of the random acts of kindness. And I think we’ve all heard about how some people go into Starbucks and buy a suspended coffee for someone else (meaning the coffee is already paid for and a needy person can claim it).
You can also go on Heifer International and literally buy a goat, chicken, cow, water buffalo, or other animal to give to a family or village located in an impoverished part of the world. Know someone who has a ton of crap and doesn’t need anything? You can even give it in their name! My BFF Shaun did that for my kids last year and I’m hoping she’ll do it again this year.
Some years I will go to a toll booth and pay for the tolls for the next 20 people behind me. Other years I pay for the coffee of the people coming after. I’ve even gone on people’s Amazon wish lists and sent them something little they’ve wanted.
And let me tell you a secret. Giving feels good. Really, really good. You’ve made people’s day and year much, much brighter. Don’t believe me? Check out this post from TheBloggess.com. This year she encouraged people who didn’t have enough to make an Amazon wish list and post it to her site. As a result all these people who are in need, and mostly it’s children, are getting gifts for Christmas. You go with your gut on this one since this is just people helping people. Look in the comments. People are posting lists, items bought, and thank yous. There are more comments on page #2 as well. I bought snowpants for a little girl and some coloring sets. You can help, too. It’s super easy. She also supports Project Night Night, a great charity where every $25 donated helps to supply a backpack, blanket, stuffed animal, and a book to kids who are homeless. And you have no idea what a huge difference buying a $20 gift for someone will make in their lives.