What are we really celebrating?

Shopping season is upon us and Black Friday was a record breaker.  We are rushing off to the mall and hopefully local stores  to get the latest electronics or popular toy.  I would invite you to ask yourself this season, what are we celebrating?  What does the Holiday season or Christmas mean to  you?  How can you make this time more meaningful for yourself and your family?

One way to make the season more meaningful is to be mindful about our spending. Who are we buying for and what are we buying?  Is a part of our giving directed towards those in more need and not just those who need more?

How would you feel about buying something for the homeless people or hungry families or even Sandy storm survivors.

Here are a couple of suggestions for mindful giving:

The local Episcopal church collects items for the homeless. Then, near Christmas, serves a Christmas dinner for several hundred homeless people. (the number gets bigger every year) They are each given a bag containing toiletries, warm hats, gloves, sox, underwear, sweaters etc. Each bag may vary based on how much and just what was given, but they love getting these.  Sometimes it means survival for them to have these essential items.  You may contact the All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Villiage or Trinity Episcopal church to make monetary or item contributions. My wife Robbin and I volunteer for this holiday ritual every year and I can tell you it is very wonderful to see everyone get a gift package with items they need.

Another giving opportunity is for survivors of hurricane Sandy. There is of course the Red Cross (it is not too late and need is still high)  and also of particular interest to me is a movement called “Occupy Sandy”. This group was formed out of the Occupy Wall Street movement and there are large numbers of volunteers cooking and serving food, helping with house cleanup and restoration and other essential life services.  They even have a page on Amazon.com where donations can be made.  Click through to the Amazon page for Occupy Sandy and see a list of the most needed items. You can purchase them right on Amazon through Pay Pal if you like and the items go right where they are needed.

This season, lets see how our shopping dollars may be helpful, not just for the latest electronics, but to help those suffering and in need. The true spirit of the season. I hope you will look at some of these resources and/or choose your own ways to make this season more meaningful for you, as well as truly serving our fellow humans in need.

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