Saturday, December 12, 2009

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! for real this time

I really want my children to know that Christmas is not all about presents - for them. What I can do is try to show my children about generosity first hand. My girlfriend teaches downtown in a very low income neighborhood. She had mentioned adopting a family in need this holiday season so I asked if we could help.

While I was volunteering at my son's school I happened to mention it to his teacher and she said it sounded like a great idea for the class. So I called my girlfriend and asked her how much help she would like and she said the more the merrier!

So I plastered "Change for Cheer" on an old plastic container and got the class started with all the change from my wallet. The teacher even asked the parents to forgo store bought gifts this year and just donate to the family. The kids counted, estimated, and weighted the jar. They wrote letters to the family and talked about what the family might need or like for the holidays.

Two weeks later the day I have to pick-up the jar and deliver it to my girlfriend was one of those never ending days. I ran errands with the three-year-old for two hours and came home to the carbon monoxide detector blaring. I had to call the gas company blah, blah, blah.

Needless to say I was a little frazzled by the time I got to school to pick up the jar and thank the children for their donations. I was blown away when I got there and could barely lift the jar. It weighted over 10 pounds and there was $300 in it. Every child had written a note to the family wishing them Merry Christmas and hoping they use the money to get a Christmas tree. My son had added that he hoped there was enough money for them to buy a house.

I was in tears by the time I handed over the jar to my girlfriend - who was blown away. She made a call to the family and found out that they in fact did not have a tree or stockings. Together with my children we went to Target and spent half the money. My son had a blast picking out a tree, decorations, garland, and a tree topper. The three-year-old didn't quite get it at first but still had fun helping us fill the cart. They picked out toys, clothes, pajamas, jewelry, and more.

Later we got online and ordered the family Christmas dinner. My six-year-old got it! Everyday since he has asked if he can donate his money to a family that "really needs Christmas". I'm so proud of him and his class. I'm ecstatic that so many parents got behind this and sent in $5, $10, even $20. I'm humbled by the teacher who gave up presents and gift cards for this family.

I'm renewed that maybe the holidays are not all about.... presents, or boxes, or bows maybe Christmas is something a little bit more....and my heart grew ten sizes!

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