A lovely woman I know, let’s call her Kikki, has issued a challenge to Edmontonian’s to put away our “bah humbugs” and do more for others this holiday season. When I read her original challenge, I had to shake my head. Not because I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s just an odd concept to me to accept a “challenge” that my husband and I would consider parts of our daily lives.
Years ago, hubs and I realized that we often have more than we need. We might not have a fancy car (our “youngest” vehicle is approaching 9 years old) or a big house (790 sq feet) but we have a roof over our head, clothes on our backs, and food on our table.
Long ago we stepped away from traditional Christmas gift giving and started giving to charities rather than giving presents. We adopted families and organizations rather than attending parties or spending ridiculous amounts on items we’d likely never use.
And we don’t stop at an arbitrarily defined “holiday season”. We realized that the need for support doesn’t end when Christmas wrapping paper goes into the trash. It exists all year long. So we do our best each and every month to make a difference, however small, in other’s lives.
Somewhere along the way we’ve realized that “there but for the grace of go I…” and started trying to live our lives to honour the sentiment. Perhaps it’s because of the time I spent living in what are politely termed “developing countries” or the time my husband has spent Peacekeeping and Peacemaking across the globe; we’ve realized just how incredibly fortunate an act of chance – our births in Canada – have made us.
As we get older, we’ve watched our “friends” pool decrease to the point where we’ve surrounded ourselves mainly with like minded individuals. Most of our friends and acquaintances are actively involved in non-profit organizations. They plan and deliver meals to the homeless. They run dog rescues. They raise funds for women’s rights organizations or to put books into school libraries for underprivileged children. They build schools in developing countries. They fund community centres and gather diapers for teen mothers. They pass out backpacks with supplies to homeless community members. These people we choose to spend time with do something amazing for others on a regular basis and their efforts need to be celebrated.
We’re going to continue on our daily lives as if Kikki’s challenge doesn’t exist. Because for us it’s not a challenge; it’s simply the right thing to do. As 2011 draws to a close and 2012 looms before us, I’m asking everyone else to join us in making helping someone less fortunate than you something you do all year long. Stop using “it’s the reason for the season” as an excuse to only participate in giving once a year. Do something each and every month.