penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

All I want for Christmas

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This is a time of year when people start to focus on gifts for Christmas – the giving and the getting. Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, and I worry about all the stuff we don’t need suffocating our home and our planet, but increasingly I would just like to say “no” to the whole gift-consuming process. Even buying for the kids – which I used to find fun – now fills me with emptiness.

But people still like to receive (and give) lists of what they want for Christmas. So here’s my list, for what it’s worth. But it may be hard to find some of these at a store:

– I want my mom to be cured of cancer. If I can’t have that, I want her to not have the pain and nausea that she wakes up with every morning and goes to bed with every night. There’s a guy at my church who I know would like the same gift – maybe we can find a two for one deal?
– I want my mother in law to be free of the excruciating pain she has right now when she tries to walk and move around. If I can’t have that, can she have a Christmas day that she can enjoy with her family free from pain?
– I want my cousin John to still be alive. If I can’t have that, I want my aunt, uncle and cousin to have one normal day where they don’t have to relive everything they have been through.
– I want to have my kids not fight, or cry or whine for an entire day. If I can’t have that, maybe just have one dinner hour that did not end in tears.
– I want for my kids to be citizens of the world and the leaders of tomorrow. If I can’t have that can they just grow up to be good people?
– I want all the families of children who go to our school who are living in shelters to find a home. If I can’t have that, I want them to have comfort and freedom from fear for a day.
– I want the families from across the sea in our church to be reunified with their husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters who are still waiting in fear, dreaming of peace in our Northern country. If I can’t have that, can we at least let them stay with their families and rebuild their lives instead of deporting them back into danger?
– Help all my friends and neighbours who have mental health problems. If I can’t have that, can they have a moment of peace and hope?
– I want to get one good night’s sleep. If I can’t have that can I have one night where I don’t wake up at 2 am and then lie there thinking about all the things NOT GETTING DONE.
– Can I have one day where I don’t get angry at…well, there’s a list for that too. And if I can’t have that, can I just have the tools to manage my anger better so I don’t take it out on the people around me?

Alternatively please consider giving generously to an organization that can help make these gifts a reality:

– The Terry Fox Foundation or pick a cancer association. I’d pick the Pancreatic Cancer Association.
– Red Cross – Tag it for Typhoon Yolanda
– The Plan Canada I am a Girl campaign
– World Vision
– War Child
– Kiva micro loans
– Your local food bank, food basket or hamper campaign. Sadly, every community, church and school has one.
– Your local snow suit/winter clothing fund
– Shelters for men, women and families

Still not sure? How about the gift of time?

– Volunteer. There are hundreds of organizations crying out for help and you have skills to offer.
– Help a neighbour shovel their side walk.
– Bring a meal to someone who needs it.
– Visit someone you know who just needs to talk.
– Take some time and spend it with your kids. The old saw is true – the time passes faster than you think.
– Call (chose a relative/friend/loved one here) that you haven’t spoken to in a while. They would love to hear from you.

Do you really have to buy something? (Because even I enjoy opening a gift of fluffy socks):

– Buy local. If you can’t walk to buy it, it’s not worth having.
– Find a neighbour who makes something and buy their stuff. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of talented people in my neighbourhood.
– If you are talented yourself – make something.
– Go to your neighbourhood or school craft fair (my favourite gifts are the ones my kids buy at their school “garage sale”).
– Buy second hand.
– Shop at stores or from vendors where the money will go to a good cause like Ten Thousand Villages.

This Christmas, give a gift that makes a difference.


Written by pennyinacastle

November 29, 2013 at 5:04 am

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