No Fancy Name
Friday, December 17, 2004
a festivus for the rest of us
It's holiday time. There are a lot of holidays/festivals/celebrations in Dec/Jan, including but not limited to: Chanukah, Christmas, Dia de los Reye, Kwanzaa, New Year's, Saint Nicholas Day, Saturnalia, and a host of birthdays including me, profgrrrl, my friends' kid and my mother.

In other words, it ain't all about the Baby Jesus, but if you want it to be, knock yourself out—just don't tell me "to keep the Christ in Christmas" because saying that isn't least for now.

So let's remember what the season is all about: giving! peace on earth (hmmm....some folks need to work on that)! goodwill toward [all]! While I'm thrilled to receive gifts, and I get my friends their fair share (mostly alcohol this year, go figure), it's also good to take an extra ten or twenty bucks and do something good for someone you don't know.*

If it's the Salvation Army or your local homeless shelter or a shelter for battered women and children, or a soup kitchen or a church (preferably of the welcoming, non-judgemental, open-minded, non-bigoted variety), throw your quarters in the kettle. Or volunteer. [Tangent: if you live in a really diverse place and are donating food to a pantry/kitchen type of place for the less fortunate, take a moment to think about what you're giving versus your actual neighborhood. For example, it didn't even dawn on me that the Koreans and Vietnamese in my neighborhood totally don't dig on the canned vegetables thing so if they get them in their gift bag they don't use them. I started donating big bags of rice, instead.]

Also during this time of year, your local newspapers may start profiling specific families in need. You know the type, "His house burned down and he can't walk, but a radio would go a long way toward brightening little Timmy's day as he recovers. Donate $25 specifically to Timmy's radio fund." Yeah, I read all of the profiles in the SJ Mercury News 2004 Holiday Wishbook, and I managed to narrow it down to a few, who then got their gift cards or food vouchers or whatever it was that they asked for. Then there's Heifer International, to which I donated some seedlings and chicks. The chicks are so useful after they grow up into chickens—eggs for protein for the family, eggs for use in trade, chickens keep the bugs and weeds out of the garden and enrich the soil...a win-win situation.

So yeah, instead of reloading my Starbucks card, I bought some seedlings and chicks. Try it, you'll like it.
* If you can do it year-round, even better. But the holidays are usually the time when people have a little extra what with bonuses and all, or maybe we're just all better at finding the extra around this time.


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