When you decide that you want to start living more intentionally, and “gracefully”, things start to look and feel a bit different in your life. Material things and “me” things get pushed further and further down the list. Doing for others, having experiences and making memories bubble up to the top.
During the Christmas season, most are generally more giving and charitable. Sometimes though, the hustle and bustle of the season push even our best intentions to the back burner.
Don’t let that happen this season. If you want to make baking cookies with your kids a priority then MAKE THE TIME. Put it on a schedule if you have to and make it a priority.
If it’s crafting with your kids that you want to do then DO IT. These DIY Cinnamon Ornaments are only TWO ingredients that you probably already have on hand!
You know what else is really easy??
Don’t overthink it.
Just do it.
Pick something that is close to your heart or something that you feel a calling towards and do it. If its shoeboxes or angel trees, you can fill those boxes in one trip to Target.
For me, I think Christmas giving will always take me to a Children’s Hospital.
We were supposed to spend Little Es first Christmas in the hospital getting chemo. We had the car packed with our tiny little Christmas tree, décor and gifts so we could make our hospital room as festive as possible. Then, by a stroke of bad luck, she ended up not being well enough to start that round of chemo. We had to wait a week before trying again. Christmas Miracle really that she got to spend her first one at home.
But Christmas Eve, Christmas day, the whole month of December… all 28 beds on the Oncology Floor were filled at All Children’s Hospital. So many families with sick babies, sick toddlers, sick teenagers spending the holidays in hospital rooms. Hoping and praying that next year their child would still be alive to see another Christmas.
It’s heartbreaking. Really and Truly.
We did end up making counts after Christmas, and we spent New Years in the hospital. A family came by, going to each door on the Oncology floor, wishing us Happy Holidays and giving every family a small gift bag. With the family was a boy, about 11 if I had to guess. When he caught sight of my sweet little baby, his face contorted in pain and he left the room.
My mom, who was with us, exited the room a few min after the family had departed and found the boy sobbing in the hallway. His family was in another room, giving another family a sweet little gift. My mom hugged him and told him how much it meant to us for him to be there. Later as we were going through the gift bag, there was a gift card that was signed “In memory of Baby Marcus”. I can only assume that my little girl reminded him of a baby in his own life that he had lost to cancer.
I will remember that little boy, his families gift, and his sweet heart forever. I can still picture his face so clearly and I only saw him for a moment.
He is the reason I know that giving is important. That giving matters. That the thought and intent matters. Because it mattered to me when I needed it most.
What should you give when you consider Charitable Giving?
There is no right or wrong thing to give. Store-bought toys, handwritten cards, groceries. There are ALL KINDS of needs and you ARE equipped to meet some of them.
Take a second and think about what you are good at, or what you are passionate about. Do you write? Sew? Craft? Do you have an awesomely sweet pooch? Do you have an hour or two of extra time each week? Are you a good listener? Do you love old people? Kids?
Once you have narrowed down a few things (or even just one) brainstorm a little more and think about a way you could use your skill or passion to benefit someone else.
Maybe its writing letters or sending care packages to orphans overseas, or to military members. Maybe it’s spending a few hours each week driving the elderly to doctors appointments, or taking your awesome dog to visit a retirement home or rehab center.
What do I do?
Like I mentioned, the Children’s Hospital is always close to my heart. When Little E was a tiny bald-headed cancer patient I ALWAYS put a bow on her head. Number one I hated when people called her a boy. It’s not her fault she didn’t have hair! Second, she was still a little girl, even with cancer and all little girls should get to be dolled up in a bow. And lastly, it made me, mama, happy to see a little glitter, lace, pom-pom or whatever on my baby’s head. Just a little slice of “normal”.
So now, three years later, I make bows. I make lots of cute little glitter bows, on one size headbands, so any girl, baby to teen can add a little glimmer of happiness to their day.
When you are a cancer patient, or a cancer mom, or a cancer family, you realize that during the journey you don’t really care about a cure. Like yea, that would be awesome but it doesn’t really help you in the immediate situation. What does help are people.
People reminding you that they care.
That you aren’t alone.
That you still matter.
So while yes, I do also give to research foundations each year, I also think it’s important that I give to the people too.
People matter yall.
What is the purpose of this life if we aren’t forming meaningful connections with each other? If we aren’t helping each other? If we aren’t being generous with our time, our resources and our God-given talents?
This season I urge you to be generous.