Sweet November has ended, throwing us directly into the commercialization of the so-called happiest holiday of the year. Bah humbug! In Scrooge’s voice, this catchphrase is used by the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge in Dicken’s novel “A Christmas Carol” (1843), but unlike Mr. Scrooge, I do not hate Christmas.
Rather, I love the idea of kindness and giving to others in need year-round. It bothers me that some of us are only concerned with “peace on earth” and “goodwill to all men” during Christmas. It seems that many of us have been bamboozled into believing that this time of the year is mainly about spending money on gift-giving. However, as the holiday approaches, I am sympathetic to the many people and families stressing out about gift buying. Wondering whether the resources will stretch far enough to keep the heat and lights on, all while trying a have a few presents under the tree.
The only thing that fills their plates are stress, and uncertainty. As they live in turmoil trying to keep their families together and safe. Research done by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in August 2020 highlighted how three-quarters of all displaced people had lost income since the start of the pandemic. As of today, there are 82.4 million people globally who are displaced. The impact of the pandemic is pushing many families into hunger and homelessness. Reports also share that displaced people are more likely to suffer violence and discrimination. There is an increase in gender-based violence, and children are becoming more stressed as COVID-19 spawns a “coping crisis”.
The needs are great for many. So, what to do? Who and how to help? Where to go? Well, Giving Tuesday is a starting point. A new radical concept of giving and generosity. That’s celebrated on the Tuesday after my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving each year. The day is devoted to numerous charitable causes and encourages us to give back with love to those in need. In a report last year, over $2.5 billion was donated in the United States. I like the CEO and co-founder of the movement stress giving love and creating peace on earth shouldn’t just be an annual event that only takes place during the holiday season. Loving and standing in the gap for others in need are not synonymous with money. There are a plethora of ways to “love” on others, like donating your time, reading to the elderly at a nursing facility, rounding up your grocery bill to the next dollar, or adopting a family. Not feeling excited about those options, no worries, USA Today lists some agencies that would appreciate your love.
Think of how moving it would be for us to begin showing our love in ways that last beyond a few days or the month of December. Giving young people other examples to follow as they become adults. Giving and showing love is a rewarding feeling! In what ways can we expand our giving and show love to those outside of our inner circles? Adopting a class, inviting another family over for dinner (COVID safe), having our children buy a gift for another child, or opting to exchange items that are homemade instead of store-bought.
As we prepare for the holiday and New Year, let’s determine how we can pay more attention to the substance of love. The number of gifts under the tree or the expensive tags attached are not the only ways to show our love.
In love and libHERation