• Samantha Dawn

The Magic of Donating this Season



Christmas time brings a lot of joy to a lot of people; toys, food, unwanted family comments about your love life. There's Christmas parties, there's love in the air, and there's snow!

Christmas is basically the best holiday around. Some people will be celebrating the birth of Jesus, some will be celebrating Hanukkah (it's starts on December 24th this year), some will be celebrating other religions/ just celebrating, but don't believe in anything. Some people wont be able to celebrate, some people are down on their luck, they just moved to a foreign country (yes, Canada is a foreign country to some), they are born into families who aren't able to afford it, and some people are just fighting to survive the winter.

I am a firm believer in passing it on. Not only at Christmas but all year round. It's actually what creates the magic of Christmas. Last year, I signed up to help six kids with a few presents. Some I found at church, some I found at work. I got a 12-year old some makeup, a baby a PJ, a turkey for a family, a hat and scarf for a four-year old, school supplies and books for an 18-year old, and a game for a child. Oh, did I mention I bought presents for my own family, wrote out about 80 Christmas cards, baked cookies, worked full time, and was in the middle of exams? I'm not trying to toot my own horn, I'm just trying to show that donating is completely possible. We are incredibly blessed, we are incredibly privileged and it would be a crying shame to not donate this season and create a little magic in your heart.

Now, I know what you are thinking, "but Sam, I donate all the time, am I supposed to donate to those kids at the door begging for money every time?". No, but please don't use that as an excuse to not donate and appear on a high horse. I get it, donating money all the time can be a lot. Don't worry, I've found many solutions to get around your dilemma; and it's not to donate a expired cans of food to the food bank.

All you have to do is one nice thing, and I don't mean holding the door open for someone, you should do that all the time. Christmas isn't about presents, it isn't about parties, it isn't even about how much food you can eat in one sitting. The spirit of Christmas is giving, not receiving and trust me, giving is so fulfilling and brings such joy. It's also a lot of fun to shop for someone who deserves something special because they don't see that all the time. Trust me, your family/kids will understand if you made a donation for them this Christmas instead of buying them yet another set of pyjamas or slippers. Honestly, if they do put up a fuss for not getting them something because you wanted to do something nice, they may need a reality check. Love and success shouldn't be defined by how many gifts you can give, it should be defined by the thought.

So before you decide you won't be donating this holiday season, maybe you should re-evaluate why you aren't! Spreading a little joy to everyone is a lot more magical than waking up to a million toys and clothes on Christmas morning. You should be thankful you have a warm house and are able to feed and dress yourself. Giving is a thankless job, no one gives you credit, you don't get a gold star, some of the receivers may even be embarrassed to be receiving. Overall though, giving shouldn't be about a gold star, it's about knowing you contributed to society in a meaningful way. Imagine if you couldn't afford a magical Christmas, if you were scrapping by month to month, wouldn't you want a little magic to get you by with a smile? I know I would, so please donate this season, please create a little magic, even if it just means donating something small. Use your privilege for something good.

Here are some ways you can donate this season, as a reminder, you only have to do one nice thing and if you can afford it, multiple nice things:

- Call the food bank, ask them what they need. Buy a box of it and bring it over. So if they need bananas, buy an entire shipping box of banana's. For the love of everything magical about Christmas, do not donate expired cans of food and Kraft dinner. Be better than that.

- Go through your old clothes and clear out whatever you don't need. A lot of women's shelters and mens shelters need warm coats, they need lightly used boots. If you don't want to donate to a shelter, find a place that donates it's profits to something that benefits the community. Not sure? Ask the store where the money goes, then call that organization and ask them if it's true.

- Donate one toy to a toy drive.

- Go to your church (if you go to one) and ask the church what they are doing for the community. Then ask if they need help, then help.

- Donate your time to a local kitchen that feeds people who cannot afford meals.

- Donate your time wrapping presents for monetary donations. Bring your gifts to be wrapped and donate money.

- Donate your time shovelling the driveway of someone who can't do it by themselves.

- Buy a turkey for a turkey drive.

- Buy a pair of socks for everyone at a local shelter.

- Donate your lightly used old toys to a daycare.

- Put your change in the salvation army buckets.

- Give your empty bottles to the scouts or to another bottle drive.

- Donate books to schools or shelters.

- Donate pyjamas to shelters

- Donate blood.

- Bring Baby formula to food banks.

Literally anything that would help someone other than yourself.

As always, thanks for reading,

Samantha


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