Giving is the theme of Christmas, of this "season". It's equally balanced out by the receiving. What do I want? What do I want to receive from someone, asking them to spend their money on me? While I'm not trying to be rude or ungrateful, I really, truly, genuinely don't want anything!
I've been going through the same dance for years with my parents: "what do you want?", "nothing", I reply. "You can't have nothing", so on and so forth. Christmas is our family's favorite holiday where the unwrapping of gifts and the joy that brought has always been the best part. I've been 'home for Christmas' 4 or 5 times out of the past 13 years and those Christmases were always extra special, and extra costly in baggage fees.
This year, however, something changed. Though I've been an active volunteer, donated time and money to various causes and charities for many years, I had not previously thought to make charitable giving the gift I "wanted" from others. I've asked my friends and family that want to get me something, to donate to a charity instead. It can be one of the ones I support, a new one, or one that they support. It can be local or on the other side of the World.
For example, I "got" a young boy in the Bronx a hat he asked for with a plattatterpus on it (that IS the correct spelling - his adorable spelling) through Hatcho's giving back program called Make for Good. My gifts also went to animal/pet rescue groups like CARA, and to environmental and conservationist organizations. There are also hundreds of speciality retailers that have giving back programs, where portions of sales revenues are donated to charities. Find these commerce sites and shops and help them help others! Here are a couple that I've had my eye on and supported: Hendricks Boards and Maiden Nation. And if you just don't know what to donate to and you must have something back, check out Causora where you get a dollar for dollar back through various vendors.
This act of giving through others has made me very happy; I feel like Christmas has a meaning again. It's compassion, empathy, caring and taking action - even a small step - towards helping other people, protecting our planet and saving helpless or suffering animals. So if anyone wants to give me a gift, you can give a gift to a child in need, or a rescue organization or community organization or food bank - for me, from me. And from you. I guarantee that it'll be the best gift you could give me and I'll make sure I nominate you for a #goodyawards!