A few years ago my local grocery had a tree with cards for Christmas gift requests from people who were homeless or nearly so.
For many good reasons, I’ve struggled financially in my life but when I read the individual requests it shifted my perspective: winter gloves; a man’s razor for shaving; socks; barrettes or a hair tie for a girl; a scarf and hat.
I have or can easily buy these things. It doesn’t matter if they’re old, or from a thrift store, or unstylish. I can still use or buy them. I don’t need to hope that someone will read my request and give me a pair of socks.
These few examples shifted my perspective on my own financial situation. I no longer accept bag credit when I fill my cloth bags with produce, but instead ask that it’s donated because my “need” diminished to slightly more than zero that day.
Some of my favorite parts of the season are the lights, spending time with those I love, and going to the local toy store to buy toys (well, usually art supplies and a stuffed animal) and dropping them off at Toys for Tots to be distributed to children who get too little material support, children I’ll never recognize though I apply the care in choosing that I do for my loved ones.
When I was little I was inseparable from my stuffed grey squirrel…Grayee was my Linus blanket. We moved when I was five and Grayee disappeared. Sobbing, I begged my mom to call the police because “the moving men stole Grayee.”
It was many years before I could laugh at the idea that these grown men would have stolen my battered squirrel, but Grayee had been my comfort and companion. My hope is that Toys for Tots provide the comfort I got from Grayee…and that the toys received are never lost.