This is a great time of year for most of us, but sometimes I’m guilty of getting caught up in the fun and festivities and not realizing that for some it’s the worst time of year.
My husband and I went to New York last week, and the decorations and window designs were astounding. I walked down Fifth Avenue to see Bergdorf Goodman’s windows. Their windows are famous year-round but are most dazzling during the holidays. Everything was covered in colored and clear Swarovski crystals. People were crowded around, taking photos. The details were not to be believed. Millions of tiny crystals sparkled in the themed windows.
What wasn’t dazzling or sparkling was the homeless woman standing there with a cardboard sign. The contrast between this human being and the brilliance of the mannequin in the window made me grimace. It was unseasonably warm so the woman wasn’t freezing, but she was standing there hoping some of the people taking photos of the windows would put some change in the plastic bag hanging from her arm. She was appreciative when I gave her money. But I thought about her the rest of the day, swearing I was going to work harder at not taking things for granted. Who knows what her story was. All I knew was I was having a great time looking at decorations and going to Broadway plays. I was a lucky person.
If this is a great time of year for you, then it’s the perfect time to give to others less fortunate. I had the fun experience of working with my friend Annie at the Salvation Army Angel Tree at Towne East the day after I got home from New York. It lifted my spirits when Becky Litchet and her daughter Holly came back to the table with the gifts they had brought for the two teenage girls they had chosen. They were beaming and giggling. “It is so fun!” Becky said. “We enjoy this so much, and it makes us feel good.”
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It also is uplifting to read the Share the Season stories in the paper, knowing that our community once again is stepping up and helping people who need assistance.
Every day in the mail we receive requests for money for charitable organizations. It’s difficult to choose because if you’re like me, you can’t write a check to all of them. But what we should do, especially at this time of year, is give. It sets an example for younger generations. Let them know how good it feels to know someone is having a better day because you helped make it possible.
Lesley Clark has two children, ages 25 and 28. She brought in two armloads of Angel Tree presents. She and her husband and kids have a family tradition of picking up the cards that have the person’s name, age and three things they would like. “We get the cards, go to dinner and then shop,” she said. They bought gifts for four children and six adults. “When our kids get to this age, they have everything they need and so do we, so we love doing this,” she said.
On the subject of giving, 18-year-old Emily McMinnville summed it up perfectly. With her eyes wide and a big smile, she said, “It makes you feel good. It’s awesome!”