What Happened to the Giving?

by Kimberly MacCarron

In the midst of twinkling lights, sparkly trees and holiday music streaming through every department store in America, what happened to giving?

I don’t mean giving in the sense that we’re grabbing crap off the shelves before the next person can snatch it. I don’t mean that panicky feeling of buying anything because we have no clue what someone needs. And I don’t mean buying something for a “Secret Santa” gift that the person clearly lists the three things that would be sufficient.

This year I told my husband not to bother with the Secret Santa farce at his office. You pull a name from the jar, and that person lists three things they want in a specified price range. The three things are generally gift cards to their favorite stores. Then they pick a name and their choices are generally a gift card or a specific item. How about we nix that idea completely and just go buy ourselves what we want???

I’m not trying to be all bah humbug about Christmas. I seriously want the opposite. I want to do something that fills my heart with joy and wonder. Those are things I’ve sadly missed in the spirit of Christmas. Even with young children who love the magic of Christmas, I haven’t felt it for a long time.

When my daughter came home from school with her “Secret Santa” name from among her friends (price range $40), I was annoyed. Not because of the price. Not because I don’t love Christmas. It’s because they all want the same things from the same stores. And they already have the same stuff! I told my daughter that they should pull that money together and give it to a charity. That suggestion was met with something that went a little bit like this…”Whaaaat?”

I would much rather give her $100 to put toward sending a girl to school for a whole year in Malawi http://www.nbcnews.com/id/40558738/. Please see Lawrence O’Donnell’s website. It will make your heart soar. And with even less money than that, she and her friends could provide desks for kids who actually want them.

So, this year, I’ve requested that my friends DO NOT BUY ME ANYTHING. I would much rather pull our money and give to a deserving charity. Any charity. I don’t need anything but a warm feeling in my heart.

I bought a bunch of toys and cold-wear gear for our local community action center and took it to the school for a toy drive yesterday. It was the first time I was actually excited about doing something or buying things this Christmas. In a county where most kids are privileged and spoiled, what do they REALLY need?! I wish that all parents would step back and remember what the season is really about. I wish we could step forward and show our children what it means to give. To really give.

Okay. I’m getting off my soap box now because I have to go shopping. I need to fight someone for a parking space and then push and shove my way into some lines. Then I need to argue with the poor sales clerk who won’t accept my coupon on a certain name brand item. Then I’ll drive home, with my jaw clenched up tight, to welcome my kids home from school.

I hope that this Christmas we all search inside our hearts and discover the real magic of the season.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,  and…Bah humbug! ☺

6 thoughts on “What Happened to the Giving?

  1. Good morning Kim! Sometimes I start feeling sad about the state of buying at Christmas too but then I think about the last few years when neighborhood friends do kind little things for our family like bring a fresh wreath by to hang on our door or stop by with a plate of cookies. Or the times when my teenage niece steps outside of her teen world and gifts us with handmade scarves and hats. Those little things inspired me to do little things for others this year and it’s felt so good. Here’s a little cyber mistletoe and a big kiss and hug to go with a little of that Bah Humbug. 🙂

  2. I told you that you brought the first smile to my face the other day, so I know exactly what you mean! 🙂 It’s the little things. The considerate things that make you smile. 🙂 Thanks for that! 🙂 And the cookies…
    Those are a lot of smiley faces. I know. But you deserve them. 🙂

  3. I REALLY hate when stores won’t take my coupons. Or they over-examine them. Damn – just take the damn coupon!

    Okay, that was not very Christmasy of me either. But I hear you. Right about now is when I start getting really, really stressed about Christmas. Why?!?! it’s supposed to be a beautiful holiday. That is why I have vowed to stop stressing and enjoy. I will do this by skipping my bootcamp class tonight and go play trivia with my friends in a bar. What does skipping an exercise class and bar trivia have to do with Christmas? Ummmm. Shhhhh! Just go with it. 😉

  4. Great post, Kim! I’m totally with you. I shared with you earlier that I spent an afternoon decorating wooden picture frames with my kids. Not only are the frames ADORABLE, but I will always cherish the memory of that afternoon. I would much rather have the joy of spending time with the people I love than any other gift. Thanks for lunch today. 🙂

  5. Hey Kim, You make me smile. Really smile. I’m doing our school’s Kris Kringle for the first time in several years. I worked so hard for MY part and the dope on the other end gave me a leftover last-on-shelf, broken, key elements shoplifted piece of junk. Wouldn’t YOU feel unloved?

    But I threw my hat back in the ring this year, and requested one faculty member as my target – since I know already what I want him to have. And I’ll be so happy to discover if anyone decides to gift me with something nice — our budget is $20 or less.

    Merry Christmas! Wishing you buckets of good cheer and happiness. Perhaps you’ll be encourage to know that I’ve only bought the bare minimum so far. Wait – Christmas is next week???

  6. I loved this post, and sorry I didn’t comment when I read it yesterday – I got too excited tweeting about it:)…anyway, thank you for saying what needs said and doing it with humor and with to-the-point precision.

Comments are closed.