Blog BOQ Staff
SPREADING GOOD CHEER
Struggling to find the perfect present? Racking up credit card debt on the latest toy trend? Hiding in the mall bathroom to get out of the crowds because social anxiety and Black Friday sales are a terrible mix? I'm with you. I'm a self-diagnosed Christmas Grinch and have been for YEARS because I hated how stressful and chaotic the season is.
I grew up in a family that wasn't WELL off, but we had what we needed when we needed it, so Christmas was a lot of little gifts and one special gift. We cared more about decorating the tree together, lighting the wood stove on a chilly Christmas morning, having a huge feast, then visiting family. Growing up in a very small fishing community that relied (and still relies upon) on Employment Insurance, Christmas needed to be about more than just gifts. My most prized memory is my Dad piling me into a wheelbarrow and pushing me down the street and to the "Christmas House" that went all out. I mean Griswold all out. They played music and had Barbies dressed in fabulous Christmas coats. It was beautiful. Those memories mean more than any gift I've ever received.
So this year, we're doing something different with all of that in mind. We've let family and friends know we don't want gifts this year and we won't be sending gifts. That probably sounds cheap and a copout, but I promise it's not. Instead of buying gifts and paying a ton for shipping, we're asking friends and family to take that moment and put it towards a charity or put it away for something they want. That can be going out to dinner with a loved one, putting it towards a car payment, or just not spending it! Christmas usually means debt and stress and we've decided we don't want to be a reason someone can't pay their credit card off, or why they're in a mall filled with pushy people. This isn't for everyone and we get that. Some people get great joy from giving gifts and have the money to do so without worry, and to that, I say go for it! But we honestly don't need anything else which is pretty evident from the three bags of donations we have. This year, if people are refusing to not get us something, we're asking for experiences like going to a museum or seeing a play because that's something we can do together and be connected.
What's the point of this post? If you're in the same boat, or if you're feeling like want to do something good for someone else, I'm going to list some of the foundations we're donating to or ideas that you can do to make someone else's Christmas or winter holiday a bit more cheerful.
Three Oaks is a safe haven for abused women and children. Monetary donations can be made here, or supply items for Christmas. Teen and children items can be supplied as well. All items should be new.
Fixed Fur Life rescues animals and does a fantastic job of it. Monetary donations can be made as well as stopping by PetValu and purchasing items needed from their Christmas tree. Fixed Fur Life runs online auctions or you can Spay a Stray for $60.00 because animals need love, too.
Gleaners Food Bank helps to feed our part of Ontario by taking food and monetary donations. They put on several events throughout the year, and you can even stop by Soul Stone in Carrying Place to make a food donation and receive a slab of their product for free. Free Christmas gift AND you're helping someone
.The Children's Foundation supports families in need from Hastings, Northumberland, and PEC counties. They are a part of the Highland Shores Children's Aid. Consider donating time or money to help a family in need of a joyful holiday.
Christmas for Seniors put on by VON and the tree is located in the Bay View Mall. Help bring a smile to someone who may not have a family to spend the holidays with. My class plans on making cards for the seniors in our community which is also a great option!
Canadian Forces Members also like Christmas cards! Send one to the following address by December 9th and a member in the CF will receive a card. I know the impact this has personally as my husband was deployed for eight months to the middle east and loved receiving any type of mail.
Any Canadian Armed Forces Member P.O. Box 5004 Stn. Forces Belleville, Ont. K8N 5W6
Canadian Charities Helping Indigenous Communities lists several ways to help Indigenous communities by monetary or food donations. An important cause that needs to be remembered all year long. The Gord Downie & Wenjack Fund hopes to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities through events and bring us all together.
So that's my short list of ways you can help those in need instead of buying 45 pairs of socks for your brother. Christmas and the holiday season should be about supporting those who need it and reaching out to each other instead of filling the pockets of businesses who treat their employees poorly. In a world that is too busy to stop and smell the flowers, we need reminders that this world is home to more than just us and those in our immediate circle. Share your good fortune, even if it's just a dollar.
- Jenn Lindsay