Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, But Not Everywhere

I consider you family.  I’ve shared some of my most intimate and embarrassing stories on these pages.  I’ve shared my strengths, such as my unmatched ability to consume obscene amounts of fountain Diet Coke, and my weaknesses, like how I legitimately start preparing for Christmas in August.

The holidays have always been a really big deal for us.  Looking back, I know now that I was a very (very) fortunate child.  I think "spoiled" has a negative connotation, and I don't believe that I was, but I do have many happy memories that look just like this:

Me & Grover, Christmas 1977
After that, I set my expectations high.  Each year my father would let me help him pick out a beautiful piece of jewelry for my mother.  On one shopping trip, I spotted a tiny yet beautiful opal ring.  It was love at first sight, possibly my first ever love, and if we weren’t reunited on Christmas morning, I’d be broken hearted.  I was ten and the ring was 75 bucks.

Santa came, and clearly he’d had yet another busy year in his workshop, but no ring.  We always save our stockings for last, and I’d hoped mine would save the day.  No such luck.  Then, just before the stocking was bare, just before I had a moment to react as the spoiled, ungrateful child I never wanted to be, my father tossed me a perfectly wrapped ring box.  The feeling stays with me till this day, as does the opal ring.

I didn’t know then that some children would react the very same way to receiving a desperately needed pair of practical shoes, or even a jug of water.  Thankfully, I guess, most children never do.  Hopefully, we make up for that lesson learned as adults…  (Hint: This is where you come in.)

For the last few years, one of my favorite holiday to-do's has been gifting less fortunate kids via Operation Christmas Child.  The idea is simple.  Pack a shoebox (or plastic tub of the same size) with items for a child in need.  You choose the sex, age range and what to pack.  Then drop it off at one of numerous locations nationwide.  Choose where you’d like it to be delivered, domestically or overseas, and track it’s arrival.

I have given only two boxes each year, one from each of my daughters, but have wanted to give much more.  I am hoping each of you can help me to do that.  Together, we can give the gift of a smile on Christmas morning.

Here’s the deal.  I’ll buy the tubs, pack them, wrap them and deliver them.  There is a $7 shipping donation required per box, which I will cover, but I’d love for you to help me collect the items to fill 'em up.  No donation is too small or large, as long as each individual item fits into a shoebox.  (I’ve listed some suggestions below.)

The holidays are still a few months away, but the sooner we act, the greater difference we can make and more smiles we can create.  So, early or not, get in the spirit now. 

And this year, instead of celebrating the season of giving, celebrate being able to give…

Now, some housekeeping.

* Click here to check out Operation Christmas Child.

* There’s a list of suggested items on their site.  I have included personal items like soap, toothpaste & toothbrush, shampoo, combs, band aids, socks, underwear, flip flops, and sun hats.  Or something a little more creative like flashcards, crayons, stickers, a yo-yo, a jump rope, puzzles, coloring books, sidewalk chalk, and a personal holiday card.  The possibilities are endless, and the dollar store is a great resource.

* If you’d like to donate, please email me directly.

* Collection Week begins November 12th, so please don’t delay!  Thank you in advance... and Happy Holidays!