We have a tendency to get lost in the hype of the Christmas holiday. We stress about all the gifts we have to buy, the money we have to spend, the obligatory office parties and family gatherings. In all of the chaos and commercialism, we sometimes forget to appreciate this time of year and the opportunities we have to bring joy to others through the act of giving.
It’s the season of giving and it’s the season of getting, and this year my husband and I decided to do something a little different.
At the beginning of December, my dad called me for quick chat and asked if K and I knew yet what we wanted for Christmas. The hubs and I started talking about our wish list last year in fact, so I was ready with an answer.
K and I feel happy and satisfied with all that we have. If there is something we want or need, we buy it ourselves, and we realize that we are truly fortunate in that regard. Our situation may not always be this way, but this year we felt like we would be asking for things just to ask for them, and that didn’t feel right.
This year we have one thing on our wish list: donations to the Humane Society. Our local chapter is nonprofit and rescues and rehabilitates not just cats and dogs but also horses, donkeys, bunnies, guinea pigs, etc. It is where I adopted my dog Cora six years ago, and she has been my shadow ever since. (You can read about her here: A Rescue and a Birthday) This rescue organization and the animals they save have a holiday wish list that is much more dire than ours.
When I shared our wish list with my dad, he seemed disappointed at first. Many of us enjoy looking for and finding that perfect gift to give to a loved one. My intention was not to take the fun out of giving for him or for anyone else. I explained to my dad that we would of course be grateful for any gift he gave us but since he was asking, we felt like we have more than enough “things” and what we want this year is a donation to the Humane Society. He is a dog lover as well and understood my point. I later emailed him instructions for how to donate money as well as how to buy specific items from the organization’s Amazon wish list, like food and supplies, and have them shipped directly to the shelter.
Just a couple of weeks ago, my friend N shared the sad news that her dog had passed away. Anyone who has lost an animal best friend knows what that kind of grief is like, the feelings of loss it entails. N is a big supporter of adopting rescue dogs, as am I, so I decided to donate to the Humane Society on her behalf. On the website, I pressed the “donate” button and got a surge of energy! I have dropped off donations to the shelter but have never made a contribution online. It was so incredibly easy and felt so satisfying that I decided to keep going and donate more on behalf of others and of myself. I have gotten myself a few gifts this holiday, but I believe this is the best one.
It’s easy to get lost in the craziness of the holidays, but perhaps one way to keep things in perspective is to donate to those in need. While the Humane Society is my pick as it is near and dear to my heart, there are many other organizations out there that welcome anything we can give. Spend some time at the homeless shelter or food bank. Participate in the angel tree adoptions at the office. Donate children’s books via Barnes and Noble’s local giving initiatives. It’s a simple way to give back and stay in touch with the spirit of the season.
Happy giving and happy holidays!