I am finding it difficult to get the "Christmas spirit" blossoming in me. At first I thought it was because I had no money to buy gifts for my family and friends, and that is probably part of it. Then I thought it was due to the fact that some of my family members are very ill, which again is probably a part of my mood. I also pondered the fact that I am so far away from our families and that it has been 5+ years since I have seen them all. This, too, factors into my lack of spirit.
I did the usual thing of sending and giving out Christmas cards to friends, family and neighbors. Cards have always meant a lot to me and I do so love to receive them! I feel it lets people know I think of them. I also made a Christmas stocking for the newest addition to our extended family, which is a tradition!
Then I thought about Christmases of the past. I have always participated in "Giving trees" when you get a tag and buy gifts for that child/ adult wishing for something. We usually provided for several. We also always found a family or two going through difficult times and would be "Secret Santa's" by leaving gifts, food and sometimes also clothing on doorsteps. We would imagine how happy they were to find these things to cheer their holidays and it made us feel cheer.
I also always gave donations to animal shelters of money and blankets collected from thrift stores and garage sales.
Since moving to Oregon we always participated in the Fill-A-Stocking, Fill-A-Heart charity, often taking 6 stockings to fill with goodies. It felt good to know we put a smile on someones face.
While my son was in Scouts from Kindergarten through 10th grade, we participated in each troops event to provide for families in need. Very important to instill charitable acts in children!
I realized that I have not been able to do all of these things since we fell on tough times over the past 5 years.
I miss the "doing for others." I miss having the finances to give. I miss that warm, elated feeling I would have from giving.
So, since I see no chance of winning the lottery (you do have to buy a ticket now and then) and do not foresee a change in our financial state to the positive, I have decided to use my talents.
I am going to spend free time making needlepoint Christmas stockings. Some will go to my church to raffle off next year, and some will go to the Fill-A-Stocking program to raffle off. Then I thought that maybe I could also donate some of my photographs as well. I could make some 81/2 x 11 ones and keep an eye out for nice frames for them at garage sales and thrift stores and maybe they could also be raffled off. I need to speak to the groups first to see if they think this would be good.
I know it is not much, but it already makes me feel a bit better knowing that I might be able to assist them in reaching a goal!
Next Christmas I may have a brighter smile and a happier heart!