Doing for others feels so good~

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    It's tiring, this parenting of difficult child's and taking care of families, holding down a full time job, coming home & rushing through dinner, running to the store, feeding the dogs, walking the dogs, chasing down pcs and difficult children....etc, etc, etc.

    Going back to when my girls were young and I was newly separated, recently moved to a place where I knew no one and had no friends (and niether did the girls)...we went to Ames one snowy day to pick up some inexpensive gifts for my sister's family (I had hardly no money for gifts at all) and we came across a 'Wishing Tree' filled with little red & green cards that had been filled out by local children whose families couldn't provide for them. The cards had things like "PJ's-Size 4T", "slippers - Size 5", "Christmas Dinner for my family", and "something for my mom" on them, in little kid hand writing. My girls begged me to buy something, so we chose a card and bought that child a gift. I had to explain that in doing so, we'd all have to give up one gift. My girls were so freakin happy and I was too, I almost cried. That was the best. We've continued the tradition of giving to those in need each year and in doing so we give up something for ourselves. I'm not tooting my own horn, I'm just sharing how much it truly feels like a gift to ourselves when we give to others and easy child and difficult child still love it!

    In the midst of all the holiday preparations, whether that holiday is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza,'s hard to find something more to give of yourself or do for others. "They" say that giving brings us joy, fills us with love, gives us everlasting peace in knowing that we've touched another's life, lifted them up, made a difference. There are so many people in need and although at times we think we're the only ones, there are those who are in an even worse place, so my holiday wish this year is that each and every one of us reaches out and gives a little bit. It's amazing the gifts you receive in kind. Simply amazing.

    Do any of you do something special for others at holiday time? If so, what? I would love to hear about it!
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    We do things here and there when we can (buy for the Angel tree, add a pre-made bag of groceries to our order to the food bank, etc.) but the first thing that popped into my mind was something someone else did.

    Hubby and I used to be active in our local Jaycees and every year we (Jaycees) would take underprivileged kids shopping for Christmas. We would have $40 or so for each kid and they could pick out anything they wanted. Usually they needed a coat, boots or hat/mittens, clothes, etc. but we always had enough to get them something they wanted too. I don't know for sure how many times this happened but every year there would always be a few extra special kids. The ages varied from year to year but the kids always amazed us. They would show up with a list in hand and would ask us how much they could spend. Were they thinking of the things they wanted? Nope. They were shopping for their families and wouldn't get a thing for themselves. After shopping we would throw them a party complete with Santa and they each got something so these kids didn't go home empty handed but they had more fun buying their family things than getting something for themselves. They would buy toys for their little brothers or sisters and "cool" stuff for the older ones and they always, ALWAYS got something for their mom. Sometimes it would be Christmas ornaments because their mom loved Christmas and sometimes it would be something they knew their mom wanted but denied herself to get him/her things.

    I always wanted to be a fly on the wall when these kids went home. During the party, we would wrap each childs stuff and I can just imagine the parent's surprise on Christmas morning when their child handed the presents out instead of opening them themselves. :angel:
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    Both your stories are very beautiful & inspiring. I've organized two Christmas programs through the Sunday School this year. The first is using an Advent coin folder where the child earns a quarter a day and collects it for our national church's "Gifts For Life" program. We're hoping to purchase mosquito nets for children in third world countries. The other program is a gift collection to take place during the fourth Sunday in Advent. Parishioners have been invited to purchase gifts for children that are preschool aged & younger that are currently residing in a local addiction treatment center with their mothers. I chose this program because the clients seemed like they could be our difficult children. I thought it would be great to make their holiday brighter.
  4. guest3

    guest3 Guest

    I try to emerse myself in helping others, it's the best therapy and it's free!

    My church actual just sent me a benevolence check for $300, I am sending it back, I can not, with good conscience, keep it> Sure my life has been hard these past few months (years), but I am blessed to live here in my parent's home (for now) and I have a nest egg to get me by, a year or two from now, I might keep such a check, it was touching all the same, I love my church!
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    When we lived in the Northeast, we would fix cookies and a fully dressed turkey and deliver them to the local soup kitchen on Christmas morning.

    Here, we have adopted a family of four. We have bought each family member a practical gift and a fun gift. We've already dropped off a tree (artificial) to them with some lights and ornaments. The mother has MS and the father admits he can't cook, so we will make them a complete Christmas dinner and deliver it Christmas morning. They can heat it up quickily and easily. We've also discussed it and have each returned one gift that we bought for the other. That money will be used to pay this family's electric bill in January. We're also including a gift booklet that we're making. So far, we have included a complete meal to be fixed for them on any day they want next year; babysitting 4 times so the husband and wife can have some time together; 4 days at the pool here for all of them; 6 days of cleaning their home; cooking lessons for the hubby and eldest son (he's 10). That's all we've come up with so far but I'm sure other ideas will come to mind.

    For me, Christmas isn't Christmas without giving something to others who have less. We may not have much right now, but there are so many others who have less. To not share just doesn't seem right.
  6. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    I have had the joy of distributing those "Sharing Tree" type gifts. I worked for an agency for 8 years whose clients were mostly low income and who received those gifts via our agency.

    So, I had a birds eye view of how blessed they were as a result of peoples generosity. I cried many a tear with my clients as they were overcome with gratitude for things like diapers, warm jammies, laundry soap, and gift cards to local grocers.

    Bless you ladies as you sacrifice to bless others. I can only tell you how much this means to families who really are having a rough time. Of course the tangible items mean a lot - but it is truly the thought and concern behind those tangible items that speaks to their hearts.
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Wow, what awesome gifts of love have been passed around. I am true believer that what you give comes back to you 10 times over and some in ways you'd never have thought believable!

    mstang67chic - I loved your story about the kiddos shopping for their families. When my girls were very young and I gave them a gift allowance and took them shopping, it always amazed me that they were more interested in buying for others rather than themselves! That's great.

    TM - I think it's just beautiful when we can identify even a little bit with others whom we may not believe to have anything in common with. Choosing to help out those who could *possibly* be difficult child's is awesome. I love that.

    lostyetfound07 - I got the chills reading how you sent back that $300 check. A situation like that really amplifies just how fortunate we are, even when we're "wanting" some things of our very own. That $300 will come back to in you so many other ways over the course of your life.

    meowbunny - I love all the great ways in which you helped your adopted family. Our local paper used to have a publication each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas with families to adopt. We did it one year and I haven't seen that publication since. I always thought that was an awesome way for families to reach out to one another. I love that you drop off Christmas dinner each year.

    GG - Thanks for sharing about how others' gifts benefit those in need. I've always wanted to be a fly on the wall so I could see the smiles!

    Each year we collect items and donate funds to a local battered women/children's shelter in Hartford. They have a wish list on line at in case anyone local is interested. They always need so many things, some big ticket items and some so small you'd never think of. Anyway, we enjoy trying to make a difference there each year. I have also been a lifetime member of Planned Parenthood and give to them a few times a year - I marvel at the amazing ways in which they help women in every age and from every class; PP serves everyone, no matter where she/he comes from. I love that!
  8. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Funny, I was just thinking of this..

    A few years ago when I was working for a company that had a lot of employees. We were collecting for toys for tots. A friend and I had stopped by the box as we were planning to do a shop and wanted to see what was already being given. Nothing was in it. We went to Wal-mart filled the cart and split the cost. When we came back and put the stuff in the box a lot of people saw and asked who all put in. We said we had. All of a sudden over the next few days people were stuffing th boxes full. No one for some reason wanted to start.

    Last year I bought books for those in need(I love to read and would have been crushed as a kid to not have my own books). I think I went back to the book store that was doing the drive six times in Dec last year.

    This year so far all's I have done is gloves for kids that need them.

    The reason for that being with the weather we have been busy with the Red Cross. We have set up shelters twice now this month. Red Cross is my constant that I do things for. It is not just at Holiday time. I love to help people and this is a wonderful way for me to do so. A lot of the skills to work with our difficult children comes in handy with folks that are going through some disaster or other.

    I also have adopted a soldier. I send cards and occaisional items. I submitted my name and was approved to do so through a great group of folks. That is also a year round endeaver.

  9. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: meowbunny</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> That's all we've come up with so far but I'm sure other ideas will come to mind.


    I love the whole concept of what you have done and will do for this family, especially the booklet! (The cooking lessons, while a great idea, just cracked me up! lol) That's the kind of gift that benefits all involved, not just those on the receiving end. How wonderful of you and your family! :flower:

    How about coupons for homework help if there are subjects that you know better than they do (I help difficult child with some things and husband helps with others. And sometimes we call a family friend for things! LOL) Also, maybe some errand coupons for when there are times that something needs to be done but Dad is busy and Mom can't do it.

    Without knowing how affected the Mom is by her condition, how about a "spa/pampering" day if she's not able to do much with her hair and girly stuff? Do her hair nice, manicure/pedi,facial, that type of thing.