When I was 21 yrs old, I was dating a girl whose parent's friends were going through a divorce. They had a 6 year old daughter and unfortunately their separation was just before Christmas and we both knew how upset the little girl was. Her dad was not living in the house and wasn't planning on spending Christmas with them. So my girlfriend and I wrote little notes like, "On the first day of Christmas, my secret Santa gave to me...." and put a gift each night on their porch for the little girl. We started this about 2 weeks before Christmas. Well into the first week, my girlfriend's parents heard that someone was leaving gifts on the porch for this little girl and wondering who it was. Of course....we didn't. :) As we got closer to Christmas it was getting more difficult doing what we were doing without getting ... Read Full Story >>
I have a five year old son and two 18 month old twins and especially at Christmas time I wanted them to truely understand what the act of giving was all about. So I made a list of people that were less likely to recieve gifts or love and let my five year old chose who we would give gifts to.
He chose homeless people. We purchased some large inexpensive gift bags and filled them with canned goods, used warm socks, new toothbrushes, bars of soap, candy bars, and many other surprises, but to my surprise my son came in with his piggy bank and said they could have his money. We filled several plastic bags with coins and I slipped in a few dollar bills, and we put all the bags in the trunk of the car.
It was several days before we saw a homeless person pushing a cart down the main blvd. and fortunately my son was with me and we pulled over and gave the bag to a man who started to cry when we wished him Merry Christmas. I have never forgotten the look of gratitude on his face and neither has my son.
We have now done this for three years on my sons request.
Two days before Mother's Day, I was at a Walmart with my wife, getting some gifts, and I saw a nice gift set of lavender-scented lotions and other stuff (Hey, I'm not supposed to know exactly what all comes in those sets :-)) And so I thought what the heck, I'll get one and we'll find someone to give it to. So we're paying for everything, and the woman behind the counter is this cheery, middle-aged woman who remarks "Getting a gift for Mother's Day, huh? Nice set," or something. Somehow that set showed up for only half of the price, $5 instead of $10. Strange, I thought. We finish paying, and we move over to the side, and I'm thinking I should just give her that set! We pull out a smile card and as she's helping another customer, I tell her, this is for you, and give her the set ... Read Full Story >>
She stood looking at every tag on the tree for over an hour. Ten years old and a heart of gold, she decided that she would give up one of her Christmas gifts to the boy named Joseph who needed clothes but wanted a skateboard.
Money was tight in our household but her argument was "Mom, I have a lot to be thankful for; maybe he doesn't have that much." That year when she unwrapped her empty gift box, she read the word Joseph in it. My daughter smiled her beautiful smile and we cried.
Ten years later, I lost that daughter in a car accident.
It's been 9 years and each Christmas I stand in front of the tree of angels at the store for an hour, searching for the "Josephs" who will get her gifts.
One year, a 15 year old girl wrote, "My baby brother needs clothes more than I need a photo album and film." So I got her box of scrapbook and photo supplies and I hope they had as much fun with it as I had shopping for her.
I know my Angel girl was watching over me that year. The girl's name was Johanna ... the same as my daughter.
My friend Leigh, unemployed and broke, found a sealed envelope with $200 in it while cleaning his house. Since he hadn't found it before, he figured he really did not need it. He gave it to me (I was working) so I could buy a new CD player and have music in my life. I protested. He insisted. Now, every year at Christmas I give $200 to someone I know who could use it. Along with the money I give them a one-page story: Leigh's Light My friend Leigh is a very special man. Even though he has had more than his share of struggles and has rarely had enough money, he spends much of his time helping others to realize their dreams. He is a poet, a dreamer, a planner, a thinker and an all-round good-hearted person. One day, cleaning out the basement in which he was living, he found a small bag ... Read Full Story >>
Many people spend their New Year’s Eve, getting dressed up and dancing their way to midnight. We decided to do things a bit differently. We filled a backpack with clothes, shoes and other goodies and headed out to the railway station. The first person we spotted was a 15-16 year old boy picking up discarded plastic bottles on the platform. We called him over and started up a conversation. We had a discrete look at his hands and noticed he had long fingernail. We explained that it was important to keep short nails (studies have shown that disease occurrence in the poor can be reduced by 30% by keeping short fingernails) and then the two of us began cutting them for him. When we were done, we offered him a chocolate bar, which made him look at us suspiciously. (In India, there is a fear that people cast spells on food and then lure children away). ... Read Full Story >>
My sister is on the other side of the world. I'm volunteerting in India while she's at home in Canada. While I can't be there physically to celebrate her birthday, I wanted to spread some love to mark the day. I set off to the market to get ingredients for cookies when I saw an old man carrying a long rod with a weight on one end and a large tray holding food which he was selling on the other hand. Perfect! I went up to the man and took the rod off his shoulder and walked with him for the next half kilometer, talking to him and his grandson who appeared after a few minutes. The grandfather and boy are the only regular income generators in the family. The boy and granddad go out after the boy gets back from school. After walking and talking to the wonderful pair, as I left ... Read Full Story >>
A good friend of mine... i swear she must be the happiest most loving person I've ever met, convinced me to go out with her on valentines day since we both didn't have dates or boyfriends at that time. I went to grab her at her house, and she had construction paper and markers all over. We made what must have been 200 simple valentines saying simply "happy valentines day" and "have a wonderful day"... which then we drove out to walmart. (in our little town, walmart is the place to go late nights) then we put one on everyone's car in the parking lot.
It was such a sweet thing. I imagine it brightened someones day, plus... it was so much fun making them, and running around putting them on people's cars.
In the store where I work there are many customers who have kids, but hardly any money. This past weekend the employees were given coupons for 20 percent off any Christmas merchandise. We could give them to whoever we wanted.
I gave most of mine out and saved a few.
While I was working I had a lot of fun giving the coupons to parents with kids who saw all the toys we had out but knew that they wouldn't get any of them. The parents really had a ball buying toys for their kids that they wouldn't have been able to buy without these coupons.
It was so nice to see their eyes light up as they began to understand what the coupons were, and how they could help (A lot of the parents either do not speak english, or very little of it).
I am having fun now imagining the happiness of some of those kids as they get toys that they 'knew' they wouldn't get :-)
I am a middle school counselor. Earlier this week, I had a very caring, compassionate student tell me about a project she has undertaken. She said she has started a collection for supplies for the troops to make their holiday's more joyful. I asked her what organization she was doing this through and she was confused by my question. Finally, she said, "No, see my sister who is in 5th grade and I are doing this on our own!" I was amazed that they had thought this up on their own. I asked their mother about it and she said that they had come to her to tell her about it.
I was happy to help her. I told her to put a box in the main office with a sign and a list of supplies (which she had already typed up!). She brought the box in the next day and students have already begun to add to it.
What a beautiful thing these kids are doing. I am so proud of them!
Yesterday, while at a bank machine in a very poor part of town, my husband and I found a wallet. We opened it up to look for ID and the first thing we saw was a picture of a toddler sitting on Santa's knee. We knew we had to find this father. We found his drivers licence and gave him a call. His wife answered the phone and told us he was out looking for his wallet. We left our phone number and 10 minutes later he called. He told us because of the poor area of town his friend told him he could say good-bye to the wallet, he would never see it again. He was so grateful, he offered us $100 as a reward. My husband and the gentleman made plans to meet and as my husband was getting ready I gave him one of the smile cards. My ... Read Full Story >>
My Mom is visiting from India and I wanted to show her some Christmas shopping spirit! So one of these evenings, I took her to a nearby store. As we got out from the car, I noticed something blue and plastic and shining in semi-darkness. A black & white image of a cheerful, middle-aged lady smiled at me. It was a high-end Costco membership card. I figured she must live pretty close. So when we got home, I picked up the phone book and found the number that matched her name. A friendly male voice answered saying it is indeed his wife's card and she will call me back because she's busy feeding the baby. I was a little puzzled. Sure enough, the lady called me in 10 minutes and profusely thanked me for safe-keeping of her card. She lived down the same road, just a couple of blocks away! And then ... Read Full Story >>
I frequent a small postal outlet that is always busy at Christmas. (Aren't they all?) There are only 4 staff members and they work HARD at Christmas time.
Not all the customers smile at them. The day before Christmas, I take in small gift bags. This year, the bag had a single serving of flavoured hot chocolate, a mug, a scratch ticket, one yummy chocolate and a really silly fridge magnet. I sign the gift tag with my postal box number! One of the girls actually scratched her ticket and won $3!!! I got 4 smiles that day. The gifts cost me a total of $10 and was worth the time and effort to assemble.
While I don't get any special rates on postage during the year, I do get return smiles all year long.
Over the Christmas holidays my young boys were driving everyone in the house bonkers with their fighting, usually it's worst just before bedtime. Yesterday, at separate times of the day, I sat with each of my sons and told him "I love you". A few hours later, I realised those words had been missing from my regular vocalbulary since the holidays started. I felt guilty.
With so much time to do things together, it's inevitable that friction happens. It was kind of like coming up for air, when I said "I love you". My sons are more affectionate and calmer when they are around me now. I know it won't last, but if I keep positive, patient and loving, then life will be a lot more peaceful.
One of my favorite anonymous acts is to pay for meals in a restaurant. A few years ago I was at a Ruth's Chris restaurant with my project team for a team Christmas dinner. Where I was sitting, my view of the other dinners was via a mirror in front of me. It was a Wednesday night about 3 weeks before Christmas so there were only about 6 other table occupied. About 10 minutes before we left, a young couple came in dressed pretty formally. I happened to look in the mirror just as the woman looked at the menu. I saw her lean over to her date and whisper "It's so expensive!". I usually pick a table that's already eating their dinners so I can get their check from the restaurant. As we left I asked the host to get the manager. I told him I wanted to pay for their ... Read Full Story >>
A bunch of us carpooled in a van to go to the holiday prayer at the convention center and the celebrations afterwards.
After visiting for hours, we were on our way home late that evening. (We live about an hour away from where we were going.) Before we dropped off someone, we noticed he didn't have enough money for the bus. He only needed 50 cents, so he kindly asked if anyone could spare some change.
While everyone looked in their wallets, I remembered I had 5 dollars in my purse I was saving for coffee. I wanted to help, so I gave him all 5 dollars. And it made me happier than coffee does. :)
A man named Paul received an automobile from his brother as a Christmas present. On Christmas Eve when Paul came out of his office, a street urchin was walking around the shining new car admiring it. "Is this your car, Mister?" he asked. Paul nodded. "My brother gave it to me for Christmas." The boy was astounded. "You mean your brother gave it to you and it didn't cost you nothing? Boy, I wish..." He hesitated. Of course Paul knew what he was going to wish for. He was going to wish he had a brother like that. But what this lad said jarred Paul all the way down to his heels. "I wish," the boy went on, "that I could be a brother like that." Paul looked at the boy in astonishment, then impulsively he added, "Would you like to take a ride in my automobile?" "Oh yes, I'd love that." After a ... Read Full Story >>
Shortly after my divorce, I had to quit my management job and take a factory job so I could spend more time with my three kids. I was only making 1/5 of what I was and things were getting really tight. But I have never asked anyone for anything; my pride wouldn't allow it. I didn't really know how I was going to continue making ends meet. To make it worse, Christmas was coming up and I couldn't even afford a tree or any gifts for my children. I was behind on rent and the light bill was past due. I don't know where it came from or from who, but one day when I returned home from work, I was totally amazed. I just started crying and I couldn't stop. Someone had delivered so much stuff to my house. Gifts for all three children. Clothes, School supplies, toys. Enough ... Read Full Story >>
[ Note: This story below was written by Nancy Gavin and originally published in the December 14, 1982 issue of Woman's Day magazine. You can watch a video of this story here.] It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas--oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it--overspending... the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma---the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else. Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an ... Read Full Story >>
This is a true story written from a child's perspective by my dear, 68 year old mother, a post war/depression child living in Newfoundland, Canada at the time this happened! She will be reading this to the children and congregation at her church over the Christmas season. ---- Every year at this time I remember a Christmas when I was 8 years old. It is the one memory of Christmas that has stayed with me all my life. My children always loved hearing it. I grew up in a small community in Newfoundland, with the sea right at our door. My father was a sea captain and was away from home most of the year, but he was always home for Christmas. I remember the excitement bubbling up inside me -- it would soon be Christmas and Dad would be home for at least 3 months. I don't know which excited me most. Everything would ... Read Full Story >>
For some months now, I've been purposely choosing the longest lines to stand in -- supermarket, movies, cash register at stores during holidays so as to "develop" patience. Then, if someone looks stressed, like a mom with kids or something, I give my place away and move back to the line or longest line. What goes on is my mind races. I start blaming -- clerk for not being faster or organization for not having more checkers, or the lady with the coupons, the man who's visa card isn't accepted. I judge the people in front of me. I notice what a rush I'm in and question why I'm doing this. My monkey mind starts to consume me, racing with endless stream of such thoughts. I often fail to do this process, just getting carried away by my todo list and my internal stress or "forgetting" to do it. But sometimes I ... Read Full Story >>
This might not seem like such a big deal to someone who doesn't know me or my "story", but for my husband and I and our family it is huge. After nearly ten years of ongoing emotional battles with my husband's ex-wife, we had determined over the last year that we were finished and ready to move on. Over the past year, in most instances we have simply made concessions to her and my step-son regarding visitation changes and the like, to promote harmony and to stay focused on the positive as we try to raise our two biological children as well. Although this was "our" year to have my step-son for Thanksgiving his mother asked if he could come to her mother's home to have dessert after finishing his meal with our family. After asking him if it was what he desired, my husband agreed to this. Although it ... Read Full Story >>
A few years ago, I was working "on loan" to a company grocery store, as they were short-handed during the Christmas Holidays. I was not used to the management nor the clientele at this unit. As I was checking groceries that morning, an elderly man in a wheelchair came through my checkstand with a basket filled with candy, cigars, and a few trinkets. As I finished ringing up his purchases, I told the man the dollar amount and he presented an out-of-state check from his son. He explained to me that his son had sent him the check for his Christmas present and he wanted to use it to purchase gifts for the friends and wonderful staff at the nursing home located a few blocks behind the store where he resided. Since this was not my "home" store, I needed to have the check approved prior to accepting it. When ... Read Full Story >>
Occasionally, when I am bored, I like to poke around on Craigslist, which is an interactive site where people can post ads for just about anything – housing, jobs, dating, temporary work, etc. I was paging through the site one day, and found an ad from a woman saying that she was on medical leave from work, had very little money, and would be unable to fund Christmas presents for her son. She felt awful about this, as her son was a good well-rounded kid, an honors student, and a boy who gave to others. I decided I wanted to help her out and even though I didn’t know her it started to feel personal at this point. I asked her what her son wanted for Christmas and she told me that he was interested in a Guitar Hero game. I was trying to order one online, but they came in ... Read Full Story >>
This past Christmas is the first one ever that I feared we may not be able to bring Santa to our little ones who are 5 and 3. I tried not to get down or focus too negatively on it; I have a deep knowing that things always work out somehow and I also did not want to perpetuate a feeling of "lack" in our lives. In late November, a memo came home from my son's school requesting anyone who felt they needed help with Christmas. People who had children under 12 were asked to call the phone number at a local outreach center. So, almost reluctantly, I called and was told to come to a local church the following day. I had to bring my daughter with me and I was feeling rather sheepish and a bit sorrowful. The happy folks, all volunteers filling monthly supplies for a needy food pantry, were smiling and welcoming. An elderly man gave ... Read Full Story >>
My son is 4 years old and Christmas is a very magical time for children.
My son ran down the stairs very excited as most children are on Christmas morning and went straight for the gifts under the tree. But, to my surprise, the first gift he grabbed was a gift he made for his father and me.
He stood there with anticipation, joy and patience as we opened our gift waiting to see the expression on ours faces. As I opened the gift, which was a hand-made wreath made of his small handprints (which is one of the best gift I received), I started to cry. My husband leaned over and asked why I was crying.
I said I could not believe the thoughtfulness of this child and with all the gifts under the tree with his name on them, he was most excited about giving us the present he had made for us. As a parent, I felt so proud of the child I am raising, knowing that he values other people and how they feel.
That is actually the best gift I received for Christmas.
I was strolling by some lavender colored lilacs which were clustered alongside the sidewalk yesterday on the way to catch a ride with my neighbor who was joining me for a community dinner gathering. The quiet and soft movement of the little flowers as they danced in the breeze just made me pause for a moment. I looked at them swaying in the breeze as if they were alive and happy. I thought about how it would feel to make another human being alive and happy like those lilacs... It was Mother's Day and although I was many continents away from my mother, I thought about my neighbor, who is a mother too. In fact, a mother of two. In addition to wanting to express my thanks to her for giving me a ride to the upcoming evening gathering, I scrambled back home with my new idea unfolding in my ... Read Full Story >>
Let Me Be A Little Kinder Glen Campbell Let me be a little kinder Let me be a little blinder To the faults of those about me Let me praise a little more Let me be when I am weary Just a little bit more cheery Think a little more of others And a little less of me Let me be a little braver When temptation bids me waver Let me strive a little harder To be all that I should be Let me be a little meeker With the brother that is weaker Let me think more of my neighbor And a little less of me Let me be when I am weary Just a little bit more cheery Let me serve a little better Those that I am strivin' for Let me be a little meeker With the brother that is weaker Think a little more of others And a little less of me We attend a funeral service planned for Danny at 2pm on Friday. ~ModestoBob Last week, two days before Father’s Day, a close personal ... Read Full Story >>
On Sunday while I was having my own Father’s day celebration, I thought about my dad a lot. By the time I called to tell him that I loved him, he had already gone to bed. I was bumbed out a bit because of missing him so I thought I would write a little post about what my dad means to me. My dad is that absolute most kindest man in the world. He would never hurt anyone intentionally and would give the shirt off his back in an instant. This made me reflect on a story about 28 years ago. My dad was a used car salesman and owned his own car lot and body shop on several occasions. Every Thursday night, he would head off to Shreveport, LA to the auction. Most of the time, I drove a car over there for him so he could sell it at ... Read Full Story >>
I wrote my first Christmas card on Sunday 28th September!
Believe me, it's not like me. I usually put these things off to the last minute. But, after church on Sunday, one of the ladies from the Mothers' Union handed around some cards that they were planning to send to inmates of the nearest prison.
She asked that we each put a personal message inside - but what do you write to someone when the only thing you know about them is that they have committed a crime?
Oh, it was hard! I tapped the pen on the table for a long time searching for inspiration. In the end I had to look past the prison walls and the crime to the heart of the man.
I wrote, "Each day brings the promise of a new life. Have a Merry Christmas and a better New Year. Love. David."
It wasn't exactly inspired, but new life is what Christmas is all about and each day we have a fresh chance to make a new beginning.
I can't take credit for the idea, but wouldn't it be wonderful if we each reached out this year and shared a little love with someone who needs it?