Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Giving the Gift of Life!

Ok like everyone I stress and fume about what to give everyone during the holidays. Well, maybe I'm a little different in that I have a hard time parting with a dollar for any reason. I hate the fact that most gifts are garbage or junk no one uses and they are things that someone won't appreciate, nor will they remember who gave them what 6 months from now.

Generally I get away from the headache by making all our gifts. We do 1 main family gift then get the kids something less than $10. All our extended family (cousins, aunts & uncles, etc) get ornaments the kids made. Typical stuff.

But this year I'm too busy to make anything. I'm studying for 2 new personal training certifications (so I can get a new job as I've been without one for a month now...yikes!). I take one of the tests this coming Saturday, but that would leave me with only a couple of weeks to plan and make EVERYTHING! And my sewing machine died before Samhain (Halloween) so I can't even pop something out fast. So I started stressing (as if I needed more stress with my cramming for my exams...ugh).

As you're aware I've been really focusing on charity with our homeschooling this year. I've really been trying to help my children understand that while we don't have a lot we're WAY better off then some, and we should be thankful that Dad has a job, and we're all pretty healthy. So the idea of spending a few hundred dollars on the holidays was even more frustrating. When my kids started telling everyone, "I'm getting this, and this and this and this for Yule." - with utter confidence I was even more horrified. How could I make them understand this time of year was about GIVING not GETTING?

BUT - I've finally figured everything out!! Yee-Haw!! While giving my poor brain a rest over this past weekend, I tooled around on the internet. I wanted to research ways of getting companies to donate bolts of fleece so the kids and I can make blankets for Project Linus before our Feb 18th deadline. Then I decided to search out something to get my mother in law for Yule. I sat back thinking about each person in our family, what would MEAN something to them, what would touch their hearts....and then it hit me. Our family has been touched by a lot of cancer - my grandmother lost her 22 year battle with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2003; my husband lost both of his grandparents in the last 10 years to cancer. My grandfather is currently battling as is one of my uncles. So how wonderful would it be if we could donate money to the American Cancer Society in their honor? I went to their website and found even more - an entire catalogue of gifts where the money above cost goes to the society. So here's what we're doing this year -

  • I decided to start my own team for then next Relay For Life that happens in my area - this will raise more money then I could ever donate on my own.
  • Luminaries of our family members - both those that are still fighting, and those that lost the battle - will line the track during the race.
  • All of the children in both of our families will be receiving t-shirts from ACS, to help cheer me on during the race.
  • All of the extended family - aunts & uncles, etc; will be receiving ornaments from St. Jude children's hospital.

I've also begged for gift cards to Walmart & JoAnn Fabrics for me for this holiday, so I can buy the supplies for Project Linus. Now I feel wonderful about the money spent, and I'm really looking forward to giving these gifts - seeing how touched everyone will be.

Happy Holidays!

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