Generosity is one of the key aspects of a healthy society. It is part of the wheel of life. Giving to others is exceedingly important for societal and personal well being. We are never too young or too old to practice generosity. As we move into the Christmas season we often think more about generosity than we typically do, although truthfully we should focus on it all year long. Even though the tendency is to go through items to donate after Christmas, I encourage you to do some of your donating early this year, and to involve the whole family by creating a “generosity challenge.”
For many people Christmas time is very stressful due to financial constraints. When people do not have extra finances, buying gifts for family members can be exceedingly stressful. Many people who find themselves short on financial resources shop in second hand stores and thrift stores for Christmas gifts. If people opt to donate after Christmas (although still generous) those items are not there in time to help make Christmas bright for people who are looking for items to give to their loved ones. If people donate items early, they are available for those who need them in order to give a gift to a loved one on Christmas morning. I come from a place of privilege, I have never had to worry about whether or not I would have a nice gift to give my child or my parent on Christmas morning. There are so many people who have not had the same level of privilege that I have. This year, I have challenged my family members to go through their things and find items to donate BEFORE the holidays begin. Set a goal, and then as a family, work towards it.
Since we are never too young or too old, I encourage you to include every member of the family in this challenge. Some children are generous at an early age while others need some encouragement. If children see you donating, they are more likely to get into the spirit and come up with items they would like to give. Encouraging generosity is healthy and for many, it takes practice. We are never too young or too old to start practicing generosity but the earlier we begin, the easier it is to recognize and care about the needs of others.
If you are not a pack rat like I am, and you have nothing really to donate because you do a great job of this all year, there are still ways to “step it up” at this time of year if you want to. One way is to make foodbank or Christmas hamper donations. Items that are often needed include; powdered milk, baby formulas, cooking oil, spices (including salt and pepper), boxes of bagged tea, canned tuna, canned ham, cake mixes with containers of frosting (I tape them together), dishwashing soap, and stove top stuffing). If you are doing a Christmas hamper please consider putting a hand can opener in the hamper as canned items are useless without a can opener.
Good luck with your Challenge! Merry Christmas!
Written by Tara Garratt, Registered Psychologist with Wildflowers