There is something about this time of year that encourages people to be very generous. Possibly it has to do with the huge selection of donation opportunities. Many families have had an extra nice holiday after being “adopted.” Adoption in this sense means someone purchased gifts for everyone in the family. The gift request lists were heart wrenching with almost everyone, including the children, requesting only socks, underwear and winter boots. As someone who has coordinated the distribution of some of these gifts, I was amazed at the response to these appeals; not only beautifully wrapped packages of socks, underwear and boots, but parcels of games, cameras, remote control vehicles, stylish clothing, beauty items and gift cards. The purchasers of these gifts must have felt a twinge of happiness in their hearts, anticipating the joy the recipients would experience when opening their presents. So many families had a happy holiday because of the generosity of so many people.
For family members for whom no tangible gift would be welcomed, donations made in their name were appreciated. There is no end to the list of possibilities. For distribution in third world countries, there is the family gift of piglets for $30, accompanied by a card with a pig wearing a huge red bow and the caption “Go Tail it on the Mountain” (my choice of a gift). Those more economically advantaged were able to impact a whole community with their gift. Because lack of access to safe water is one of the biggest challenges in many countries, their gift of $2,500 provided a well for the provision of safe, clean water for an entire village of 700.
Perhaps the biggest donation resource was the gift of time. Countless people volunteered to make the holiday happy for others. For example, First Lutheran Church in East Greenwich provided a free Christmas dinner on Christmas Day. Don Hughes of Warwick played chef for the day, cooking for 40. Volunteers from Temple Sinai mingled with the participants to create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere as participants were led in song and played Christmas trivia. Their generous gift of time enabled everyone to have a joyous holiday.
The holiday season seems to bring out the best in people. It is a joyous time of year, and my New Year’s resolution is to carry that joy throughout the year. Please join me.