It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Why?
Don’t act like that’s not your favorite part of the Holidays. Whether it’s the giving or the receiving, most human beings enjoy the ceremony involved with picking the perfect present for a loved one or picking a really horrible one to see their reaction.
Have I done this before? Maybe.
Guess I shouldn’t have re-gifted that rose colored ball of twine.
I love presents, no shame in my game, and I’ve always been lucky enough to receive them throughout my life. My mother wasn’t always able to afford them on her own, I came to find out:
Sometime in middle school, I remember opening up a bunch of presents that I hadn’t specifically asked for. ‘Great!’ I thought, ‘bonus gifts! Some of these are weird, like that XL Eeyore sweatshirt that clearly would never fit me. But I’ll take it!”
Then, I opened a soft-backed copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. My mom knew I had that book already–I was obsessed with it and had read it several times over. Why would she buy me one again?
The Angel Tree that sat by the altar of our Catholic Church immediately flashed across my memory. I realized that the poor children my class had been collecting gifts for were going to my sister and me. I wasn’t ashamed, like I think would be my response now as an adult; rather, I simply became fully cognizant of how ‘in need’ my family was. My mom did a great job of shielding our poverty from us kids and it must have been really difficult for her to admit she couldn’t give us a big Christmas that year and to ask for help.
My mom rocks.
And I still have that Eeyore sweatshirt and HP book.
Santa is integral to my holiday season. I don’t know when I officially found out he didn’t exist, but it certainly didn’t scar me for life. And in case you haven’t had your daily cry today (am I the only one that has one of these?) you can:
1) Watch surprise military homecoming videos on YouTube,
2) Go chop some heinously strong onions, or
3) Picture a child waking up to absolutely nothing on Christmas.
Do all three of those and your tear ducts will be drier than the Mojave desert in July.
I had to do something because #3 is a reality that hits millions of kids globally every year.
While watching a Netflix documentary (yay!) called “Becoming Santa”, I came across a program organized by the United State Postal Service called “Operation Santa”. Children (most of them impoverished) mail letters to the North Pole every year and ask Santa to bring them presents since their families can’t afford any. A citizen takes the letter, buys the gifts, pays for wrapping and shipping, and returns it to the Post Office for them to affix an address label to send to the child.
Unfortunately, it’s not very well publicized and it’s really only available in big cities. Click the above link to check out the program and to see if there is one near you.
I decided that this Christmas, I’m going to give back through this program and I hope you stay tuned to read about my magical transformation into the overweight grandpa we all know and love.