Today Is Giving Tuesday
The year 2008 was a different one for me. Just over two years had passed since just about everything that had meant so much to me lost their significance, including Christmas traditions and giving to others. Only my daughter and my writing brought me any real joy.
Back then, I often did not have a clue what the topic of my next post on my former blog would be. There was no list of ideas that I could just go to and retrieve a story. Life was and to this day remains the source of my posts – the life of others, friends or strangers or my own. This post is a rewrite of one that was published in November of that year. It is opportune as today is also Giving Tuesday and is a great way to shift our perspective back (after all the Black Friday mayhem) to what the season just ending, Thanksgiving, and the one that is about to begin are really about. With the holidays fast approaching, I also made the decision to focus this month’s posts on “all things Christmas.”
In November 2008, when this post was first published, I thought for sure it would have been one simply wishing all my friends a happy holiday. The ads on the television and radio were ramping up and in most commercial breaks, then and now, almost all the ads were focussed on Christmas.
Not The Most Wonderful Time For Everyone
That year, there was much talk about a recession and even potential of a depression in the economies of the world. My then (soon to be) husband and I came to the decision to limit our spending and giving for the season. So the ads, while wonderful, did not air to a receptive audience in my household of two (humans). Well, with the exception for one.
In the radio version of this particular ad a woman, later identified as a mother, could be heard giving instructions how to make the perfect bed out of the back seats of a sport utility vehicle (SUV). In the television version, a mother is seen putting her daughter to bed with a bedtime story and a kiss, promising her that when morning comes she will be ready for anything. She reaches up and turns off the light, then the camera zooms out and you see that they are in an SUV parked on a dark road.
Both mothers and their children in the advertisements were homeless. By the images and the diction they were clearly not drug or some other type of addicts or floozies. You cannot tell whether they were married or living common-law with a man or a woman. However, it is clear that these are middle class women who had to choose between a home and abuse. They had to choose between living in a soul-deadening environment or giving their children a major life lesson about choices.
This year, November 2015, again the television is playing in the background as I work and this ad comes on that has the same effect on me. Watch:
Probably these ads resonate with me because I have been very close to being homeless a couple times in my journey. I think, however, they caused me to pause because I know that every Christmas too many women will be making that choice.
Giving Is A Habit
My thought back in 2008 watching a similar ad to the one above was “if the ‘experts’ are correct and the recession sets in the people who will suffer the most will be women and children.” This has always been the sad reality of the world we live in where the most vulnerable to poverty, homelessness and/or abuse are children, seniors and women – quite possibly in that order. In same-gender relationships, as an example, it is the partner who, as a friend of mine said to me years ago, “Speaks the loudest and wield the biggest economic stick,” who keeps the house.
At our engagement party, my fiancé and I asked our many friends not to give us any gifts at our wedding. We had not expected anyone to be giving us gifts at the party, however, almost everyone in attendance had brought us something – in addition to the blessing of their presence. Overwhelmed and aware of the many people ‘without’, we requested that no further gifting be done – at least not to us. We wanted to help cultivate a habit of giving between us and among our friends. So we asked our friends and well-wishers to make donations to charitable organizations, specifically to women’s shelters.
Fast forward and this is what I would also implore you our readers to consider giving a different kind of gift this Christmas. Write a cheque, go online and use your credit card or pack a box with some non-perishable food items or clothing – it does not have to be a large one – help a family and/or an individual this Christmas. Giving to your local shelter providing a room for women, children and seniors, who might have had to make the choice between a home and abuse is another option this Christmas.
Christmas Is About Giving
Is that not what Christmas is about – a person being born in a manger as there was no room in the inn for his parents who were running away from a tyrant? Whether you believe in the Christian story or not, did the story of this homeless child not change or impact many lives for over 2,000 years?
Think about giving of a different kind this year and write the cheque early to make sure that the next homeless child, woman or senior has a room for at least a night. You never know whose life this person might change and it might not take 2,000 years.
As I did back in 2008, I am giving thanks in advance and on behalf of those who will receive your generosity this Christmas. Over the next few weeks leading up to December 25, we will engage with you in Christmas conversations. The Contributors will share their understanding, wishes and even holiday tables you. So be sure to subscribe and receive on daily email update of our posts, as well as my monthly newsletter that includes an affirmation poster. Have you downloaded my FREE E-Book as yet? Delay no further and let us together get ready for 2016. Before The Year Ends is a great resource to help you finish up this year on a great footing and get set for the next. Get it today!
Have an awesome day and remember that you can change a life by giving just love this Christmas. Namaste