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December 19 2014 @ 10:00 am
25 Days of Christmas: Donations and the Worst Christmas Present Ideas Ever!!!!  

I like Operation Christmas Child because it gives children all over the world, who wouldn't normally get anything, a little something for Christmas. Every year my honorary Aunt gets a large group of women together and they bring all kinds of things (toothbrushes and toothpaste, socks, shirts, balls, small stuffed animals, shoes, etc) and they stuff boxes. They often get close to 200 boxes that they take to their local drop off.

This is one thing I love and we typically try to do just 15 boxes by ourselves though we are hoping to get more people in on it next year.

We learned last year that older boys rarely get anything in these places, where they take the boxes; so this year all of our boxes were for older boys. And it is funny if you watch the videos of the children getting the boxes, no matter what the age they always love a stuffed toy. It is really beautiful to see.

Beyond that I like to give blood. I did this about a week ago and I won't lie, it was painful. They had to stick me twice and I ended up with a huge bruise. The thing is every time I bumped it and it hurt I thought: "But it saves a life."

Several years back, right after Thanksgiving, my cousin and her family hit black ice on their way home. My cousin and her husband were fine but her two kids were airlifted to the bay area (California San Francisco region) for medical attention. They were airlifted right off the lawn on our family property because it is accessible to the road and has a large area with no power lines so when they MediFlight asked my Ex-Volunteer Firefighter uncle told them yes.

As it turned out my cousin's son had minor injuries and went home the next day but her daughter was in bad shape, though she healed quickly. In situations like this they often as for blood donations.
Ours actually started before that when my other cousin's mother-in-law was undergoing cancer treatments and needed blood transfusions. We've never stopped and always plan it so we give around Christmas. It is a small thing that almost anyone can afford to do and it makes a huge difference.

Now onto the Worst Christmas Present I Can Think OF!

While I was looking at people's stories about the worst gift they've ever received, I stumbled upon a website where you are essentially sending a virtual card to a friend of family member saying you've sent a donation in their name. But it is all fake. You never have to give money. The site tells you it is for the purpose of giving a gift that makes someone feel good without actually having to spend anything. To me this is so sad. The website is careforless.org. Now, the organizations that you choose from are all clearly fake and I think someone you've sent this to would know that but it still seems awful.

Of course, I've heard of really bad gifts before. My cousin and her husband were given a talking fly swatter a few years back. Why would you even buy that?

Me. I got an Elvis poster and a vase from my Aunt that had previously been fixtures in my cousins bedroom. I do not jest. I remember looking at them and knowing how little thought went into them.

Getting gifts isn't the most important thing. One of my favorite gifts is homemade zucchini relish (yes the recipes I made myself finally) which is something I know my Aunt makes in bulk and doesn't have to spend almost anything... but I love it. I even loved the time she donated money in my name. It isn't about what you get. It is about someone caring that you might like it.

Honestly, my favorite thing about gifts is in the giving. I love being there when people open their gifts. I love finding gifts, I know someone will love.

Days Until Christmas: 6
Jo Ann: C'mas: Shopping bag w/ presentsyeuxdebleu on December 20th, 2014 02:50 am (UTC)
Honestly, my favorite thing about gifts is in the giving....I love finding gifts I know someone will love.

Me, too.

Edited at 2014-12-20 02:51 am (UTC)
Jill aka Josireesanwar on December 22nd, 2014 08:08 pm (UTC)
It is so exciting to know someone will love something you got them and to be so happy about it when they open it.
tracyj23: Holiday - snowy daytracyj23 on December 20th, 2014 01:43 pm (UTC)
Me too. About the finding gifts people will love.

This is such a great idea. Our school does something similar - every december we ask for donations from the parents and we make up boxes for families in need - often refugee families or people new to Canada who have nothing, and we collect boxes of bathroom things and warm outer clothing to give to a local homeless shelter. It's wonderful to buy for your friends and loved ones but in our bounty we should share with others who have less than us, and in some cases nothing at all.

Giving blood is a great idea. I've never actually done it myself, but I'm considering it. Here apparently they're asking for people to have their dogs donate blood for other dogs who are in need of surgery or whatever other reason they might need it. I guess I never thought of that, but it's probably true. People who's pets have cancer or have had an accident and need surgery and blood don't really have anywhere to go if we don't have a blood bank of dog blood.

That is a horrible idea for a gift. I've thought of donating money in people's names but I would only do it through someone reputable like the Cancer Society or Heart and Stroke Foundation. You have to be so careful these days, of scams and ways to screw other people. It's really disheartening that people would actively TRY to get out of spending money to give gifts to others. That's the whole point of GIVING.
Jill aka Jo: Holiday: Treesireesanwar on December 22nd, 2014 08:29 pm (UTC)
Tracy that is also a fantastic idea! And it is a great tradition to teach your children. If I lived in a city I would do it but we don't really have any homeless shelters here. I'm sure we have a few homeless people around but so often the churches here help them out (ours included). I do know I could run them into our closest city about 60 miles away but at Christmas time that is a hard thing to schedule in so sending out gifts to children all over the world is my alternative. Though should I be able to fit your FANTASTIC idea in, I will. Love it!!

And I love that the schools get involved. Our local private school gets involved in the Operation Christmas Child but I don't think any of the public schools here do anything.

Oh my gosh! I never thought of dogs needing blood but that totally makes sense. It would be so hard to do that to my dog if I had one but I would want to, to help other dogs and hope that should my dog need it there would be a supply.

Giving blood is a great idea. I always wanted too so I'm really glad the need came up and we were forced into it. Then there is no excuse why you can't just do it. And ever since we started we've just continued. Granted sometimes we wait longer than the alloted time just to make sure iron levels are good and what not but I try really hard to continue. I think I've given over 2 gallons now. And like I said, every time I do it; I can't help but think I am helping someone or even more than one person.

Isn't it? I can't even imagine going to some website and sending an email to a friend that means I've faked a donation. It seems so Grinch-ish to me. I mean I know there are people who have very little money but still want to make it seem like they've done something for a friend but it is better to do nothing than to fake it (ie lie).
tracyj23: Holiday - green Christmas treetracyj23 on December 23rd, 2014 12:46 pm (UTC)
I know some of the public schools around here have initiatives like that too, but my kids' school does it because they're the Jesuit tradition of Catholicism and their main focus is service to others. That's part of why I like the school even though we aren't Catholic. It has a really strong sense of community and caring for others and I think that's so very much lacking in the world in general that' it's good to learn it early.

That's just sad. I would rather tell my friends I have no money and just send them good wishes, rather than lie and pretend I'm doing something nice when I'm not. But then I guess there are people who aren't like us out there ...
Jill aka Josireesanwar on December 24th, 2014 06:47 pm (UTC)
See and that is beautiful. That is something you see with religious based schools. You will probably never see that in California in a public school. They would deem it promoting a religion which to me doesn't makes sense.

My Aunt and Uncle ran a Christian school for years and the Catholics in the area came to it for much the same reasons.

Yes! A hug and a Merry Christmas is better than a fake donation for sure!
tracyj23: Holiday - ornamentstracyj23 on December 25th, 2014 02:21 pm (UTC)
Our public schools here are the same way - no promoting Christianity because that alienates people of other religions. The public schools do service work for others but they say it's for different reasons than for why my kids' school does it.

Jill aka Josireesanwar on January 2nd, 2015 07:29 pm (UTC)
See what floors me is that public schools here can't promote Christianity but they can promote any other religion. They don't care what it is they okay it but Christianity is a no.
tracyj23: Holiday - snowy daytracyj23 on January 5th, 2015 04:21 pm (UTC)
It really is getting to the point, here in Canada too, where Christians are the persecuted now, and the "minority" is the caucasian Christian. Governments bow to other minorities and religions and anything you do against them or to not allow something is discrimination or racism, but it's perfectly okay to discriminate against Christians and white people. Not okay in my opinion - if all people are supposed to be equal then ALL people should be equal.
Jill aka Josireesanwar on January 5th, 2015 10:20 pm (UTC)
It is so true. I'm so sick on hearing all this bad stuff about Christians.

And racism.... A white person has become the thing to hate now. I have been watching on TV people essentially spoofing this and really pointing out the change in "racism". Black people are assuming all white people hate them and are out to hurt them which is a racist and stereotypical point of view. Just because history has less horrible racist acts against white people doesn't mean Caucasians don't feel racism.

And what kills me is that some Black people are taking this to an extreme. I mean they are coming up with dating sites for Black people only. That is segregating themselves? I mean you can't say it is wrong that some Caucasians way back did that to them and then turn around and do it to yourselves plus it sounds to me like they are saying it isn't okay to date or marry a white person. That is racism.

I mean I feel like people need to be careful with that word. Someone who clearly hates you because of your skin color is a racist. Someone who asks you to help them reach something because you are tall and happen to be black doesn't mean they are a racist.

But I'm always inclined to say, "don't prove a stereotype." If "white people" believe "black people" are going to riot because they don't get what they want.... they say that is racist but then they do it. That just makes them wrong and I don't want to even listen to their complaint.

There is a beautiful Caucasian lady at our bank who is married to a very handsome Black man and the comments they get mainly from Black people. It is horrible. They are a beautiful couple and they should be celebrated because they love each other not because of their skin color but they shouldn't be treated horribly because of their love either.

They want people to be colorblind... they need to stop pointing it out.
tracyj23: AoS - May - sadtracyj23 on January 8th, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC)
It is really sad how true everything you said is. I always kind of figure if you don't like being stereotyped, then don't go and do it yourself against the very people you feel victimized by. It makes no sense. But then it's along the lines of feminists who are so anti-men that all they do is put down men and talk about how inferior they are and how anything men can do, women can do better, and it feels like they've just reversed roles from when men thought women were incompetent. I'm all for equality and for people standing up for their rights, be they men, women, visible minorities or what have you, but give everyone else the same rights you want for yourself. If everyone treated everyone equally we'd all be much happier.
Jill aka Jo: SPN: Stop Hammertimesireesanwar on January 8th, 2015 11:43 pm (UTC)
OH feminism pisses me off. Pardon my language.

I hate the idea that woman can do things just as well as men. There are some things men are just better at and some things woman are better at. We are just hardwired differently.

I know equality is the goal but within reason. You have to realize their are still differences. A woman isn't going to necessarily be as strong as a man. And men rarely think the same way women do.

Sometimes on person is just better at something than you are. But that isn't to say I don't think in the same job position, I think the man should make more. That is wrong. But then it also depends on the years of service to the company. Some people in a job have been working at a company for 10 years which means they've gotten raises over the years. If you are new to the company you will be making less usually. Seniority does have it's place.

I'm all for woman having the same rights and all that but I call it common sense not feminism.
tracyj23: Ariel  - frustratedtracyj23 on January 9th, 2015 03:24 pm (UTC)
Exactly. Equality doesn't mean the same, it means equal opportunities for everyone to do what they're good at and get paid well for once they're experienced and prove themselves.

I always tell people I'm not for feminism and they think I'm crazy but I have the same sort of idea as you - it's common sense. Most people who say they're feminists are the awful ones. I can't abide that.
Jill aka Josireesanwar on January 10th, 2015 01:09 am (UTC)
Yes! Which applies to schooling too. I get so frustrated with our schools here trying to play it equal so that a kid who can't read graduates highschool. Um no. Teach them to read.

Me too. Same thing.
tracyj23tracyj23 on January 12th, 2015 03:05 pm (UTC)
We have had that problem here too over the last couple of decades but things are swinging the other way now and making sure kids actually do learn and are kept back a year if they don't. At one point you weren't even allowed to fail a kid, in anything, let alone the whole year. That's no help to anyone, they just learn that they don't have to work hard or work at all in some cases, to get anything they want, they just deserve it. I'm glad we're finally wising up and I hope your school districts do too!
Jill aka Josireesanwar on January 15th, 2015 12:55 am (UTC)
See here they don't seem to care. You have to be "fair". So annoying.

Thanks me too.