May you receive the help you need just when you need it the most and may you give help at the moment in which it is most needed.
This remark around Christmas always surfaces at our house or on one of the many parties: Why can’t we be like this all the time; considerate, compassionate, non judgmental and always ready to give a helping hand?
I’m afraid I found the answer yesterday while I was watching a Christmas movie with Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate and James Gandolfini (don’t ask me for the name of the movie, but I do remember performers). The movie being sweet and funny and totally predictable seemed to be a good way to let Christmas morning Breakfast and Gift giving digest.
The storyline puts Affleck in the role of a prosperous marketing genius without any committed feelings other than to himself. When his girlfriend rejects his gifts of a trip for two to Fiji, stating that Christmas is a day for the family, he goes out to find his native home, offers the very unhappy family who lives there 250 grand for them to be his family for Christmas and a money induced scenario unfolds. Like I said, funny and predictable, but somewhere when he starts explaining his crazy behavior Affleck’s character says: “I wanted to go back to one moment in my life that was total happiness; before I stopped believing in Santa Claus and real life came down on me”
I think the writer hit the nail on the head with that line. I think that’s what the one day of Christmas means to most people these days. Trying to grab a piece of that unspoiled time when peace on earth rolls out the carpet and dominates. Even favorite tunes like ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Silent Night’ induce a sense of unspoiled. The earth is covered with pure white magical snow, so we can’t see the dirt beneath, and the silence of the night embodies peace and a chance to safely and comfortably enjoy the moment with loved ones. I even remember in history that wars and conflicts were actually halted with a “cease fire” for the entire Christmas Holiday. These days that almost sounds romantic.
We often have that conversation in our household; being good to others in need is not a commitment exclusively for the Christmas Holiday, nor is Valentine’s Day the sole representative of romance and love during the year or Thanksgiving the only day of the year to be grateful.
TOMS’ One on One Movement
This year’s Holiday Season expanded my horizon in selecting gifts from companies that truly support the idea of giving more than taking. For decades I have been contributing to organizations that have made it their goal to assist the needy and downtrodden ones in the world, and I still think that no matter the flaws these organizations have in terms of bloated administrative and operational costs, they do good and necessary work.
However this year I bought a gift from a company called TOMS, which features in its Mission Statement the One on One Movement, which details that “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.
Starting in late 2006, by September of this year TOMS had given more than One Million Pairs of new shoes to children in need across the world. That’s my kind of charitable sustainability.
My friends at the Travel Agency here on island adopted a little 9 nine old girl from the slums in Nairobi, Kenya and through a very accredited local partner (Micato Safaris) they pay for the child’s education and livelihood. That’s my kind of sustainable giving.
It is known that for a mere $25 a month you can adopt a child in some of the poorest countries in the world. Did you give a $300 gift to anyone this Christmas?; it would have sustained a needing child for a year. If you don’t want to go that far, there are numerous organizations that can help make life a little easier for someone here at home. Was there a “Sustainable Gift” under your Christmas tree this year?
This year Americans get a taste of Christmas in the old world (country) with a second day of Christmas off from work, instead of rushing back to “real” life and the daily grind. If it is snowing where you live, (it was actually snowing little fluffs earlier here on Amelia Island Florida according to witness reports), get your loved ones around a computer and type in Charitable Gifts or click on links like these http://www.ehow.com/how_13121_advantage-charitable-matching.html, www.operationsmile.org or any of the dozens charity matching sites you will find and find out why giving adds so much more to your happiness than receiving.