We exchanged gifts every year with family, but there came a year when it was obvious to all – do we need all these gifts? And why are we still doing this? We were middle-aged, long past needing extra things for our homes and more sweaters to wear. Maybe it was time to think of others who truly were in need.
So, the adult members of the family agreed: what we had spent on larger family gifts would be contributed to a charity chosen by a different family member each year. We would still gift family members but would replace those larger gifts with smaller stocking gifts instead.
This year my sister-in-law, Barbara, sent us her choices:
“ 1. I was so impressed with the work of chef Jose Andres and his World Central Kitchen in Puerto Rico–and now in California—that I’d like to support them
2. World Central Kitchen specializes in quick response to emergencies, but for ongoing relief where famine seems to be a permanent threat, I nominate the International Rescue Committee.
3. Finally, if you’re just looking for something different, I suggest your local public library.”
Now, our children have children, and we wondered how to help them to start thinking of giving to others. We decided to start a new gift for our grandchildren by giving them each a modest sum of money:
“to send to the charity of your choice to spread the Christmas cheer. If you don’t know which charity to send it to, your parents or Nona and Papa can help you.”
We’re looking forward to talking to them about their choices and what they feel would make a difference.
Giving is part of our extended family’s holiday tradition, and now we look forward to the next generation continuing on.
We’ll leave you with a few photos taken on a very green walk down a path in Portland, Oregon’s Forest Park. A long walk in a park would be another holiday tradition worth passing along.
A joyous end of year to you all.