Excitedly, I sat down to schedule this month’s blogs. With so many holidays and colder days keeping us cooped up and looking for events and activities to enjoy with friends and family, there are plenty of topics from which to choose! My supervisor added one to my list: Traditions. Truly, that didn’t make it onto my list.
I thought about all of our fall traditions readily and happily. But, I was sort of stumped trying to think about our Christmas traditions. Mostly, they revolve around Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services and a sweet, relaxing day at home with my little family. What else is it that I simply must do each holiday season? It occurred to me that the thing I’m doing this month more than any other has to do with charity and hospitality and I’m doing it pretty consistently year after year. So, maybe one of my holiday traditions is charity.
For example, each year I go through our coat closet and marvel at the jackets that I really thought we’d given away already. This year, we finally donated those ski jackets. They’re great and warm, but we have coats and have both vowed to never ski again after only barely surviving the last trip. (That was about 6 years ago. Why did I hang on to those for so long?!) Also, my son has finally outgrown that fantastic size 18 month coat that he wore for two winters… which is nice since he’s a whopping four and a half years old.
It’s more than just coats, though. We’re also giving more to our local after school program, which is run by our best friends and supports inner city kids. My own slow-growing child doesn’t need clothes or shoes often, so that gives us a little wiggle room in the budget. We’re on a limited budget at our house, but I frequently find myself scanning clearance racks and clipping coupons for items the after school kids need.
I feel certain this tradition has been handed down by my family. As a young child, we were often the family in need of Christmas gifts or grocery store gift cards. We were also the first to show up if someone’s home needed painting or leaves raked or roof repaired. I remember one winter when my dad salvaged bikes from who-knows-where and spent chilly south Georgia evenings working into the night to repair them. He donated every bike to the kids at the children’s home in the next county.
This year, I’m focusing on being more intentional about this particular holiday tradition. What are your favorite charities and how are you supporting them this holiday season?