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The Many Ways of Christmas Giving

During Thanksgiving, I was talking with my friend who lives in Kelowna, BC with her boyfriend. They moved out there in April and the two of them have been living together and trying to make new friends, but both of their families are still in Ontario. She told me she bought a turkey so she and her boyfriend could make themselves a Thanksgiving dinner, but then decided that they didn’t need all that food between two people. I asked her what she was going to do with the turkey, and she said she was going to donate it one of the homeless shelters or food banks. What a great idea, I thought!
I never thought about donating a turkey before. But, that’s probably the most expensive item to buy for holiday dinners. I thought that was a great idea, and that got me thinking about what I can do to make a little bit of a difference during the holidays for others. I think I’ve hit that age where, I don’t really need anything for Christmas (of course, I want things, but I don’t need anything, and for that I feel very lucky), but definitely could be using my time or a little extra cash for people who do need it.

So I started thinking about what I could do. Donate a turkey? I’ve never bought a turkey before (luckily, I haven’t had to be the chef at family dinners yet), but maybe I could buy one and donate it to the YWCA or another shelter. Obviously participating in food drives, which are very popular this time of year, is another option. Food is very important during the holidays, it brings people together and can make a person feel warm, good, and fulfilled, even if they don’t have everything they want in life. I have started to go through my cupboards to see what else I can donate.
What else can I do? I myself do not have a ton of cash, so I can’t commit to buying a bunch of gifts to donate, even though I would love to. I looked through my closet this morning and saw that I have 6 coats that I do not wear anymore. As I was listening to the radio, they mentioned that the less fortunate desperately need coats for this chilly season and donating your used coats is a great way to spread some holiday cheer. Perfect! I can donate those 6 coats to the Salvation Army, and hopefully someone can be a little warmer over winter.

Okay, so I can donate some food and some coats, but what ELSE is there? Well, my girlfriends and I get together for our annual Christmas Party which includes a Secret Santa.
There are 6 of us, and we have increased the gift budget over time. This year it is $40 each, and I can guarantee all of us will spend at least $50. We are using this fun website to put our gift ideas to make shopping easier, and as I looked at everyone’s wish lists, we all were asking for things like candles, scarves, little decorations, etc. Nothing that big, nothing that we desperately need. What if instead of buying gifts for each other, we combined our $50 each and donated it to a worthy cause? Or, what if we went shopping together and sponsored a family in need? That would be $300 to spend on someone else who really needs it. I think that would make us feel even better, and we could work together to find the best cause to donate to. A lot of families do Secret Santa as well, so maybe some of you reading this could try doing something like that this Christmas or next Christmas, and make a big difference in someone else’s life.

My goal this month is to keep researching  different ways to give. A lot of us have everything we want, but even more of us don’t have everything we need to just live. Christmas can be an extreme high, or an extreme low, depending on your personal situation. If we can spread the love and giving spirit a little more equally among us, more of us can have a special Christmas. Those who really need it. I am going to keep posting different ideas on the blog, different ideas that don’t all require donating money or gifts, but even just a little bit of your time. Stay tuned for different ways you can help by checking back to the blog!

Today, I will leave you with 2 ways you can help the YWCA Niagara Region this holiday season:

  • Donate a new gift for the women and children who are staying at the shelter. Here is their Christmas Wish List: https://www.ywcaniagararegion.ca/ways-help/christmas/
  • Donate your time by helping wrap the presents, pick up the gifts, and help the YW get ready for a great Christmas! They also need volunteers on Christmas Day to help with cooking. If you are interested in donating your time, please contact Kaitlyn Samways at (905) 988-3528 ext. 3241 or volunteercoordinator@ywcaniagararegion.ca

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