Monday, December 11, 2006

Giving, Giving What?

Ah, the Christmas season…the Christmas shopping season. What to get; what to give? Who do I include on my list? Who do I lop off my list? What a problem: what do I get for the person who has everything?

Well, few of us have “everything” but many (most of us who would be at a computer to read this) have “enough.” Enough stuff. Too much stuff. What do I get rid of now? How can I get rid of that; it was a gift from my dear ___? But I don’t need more things.

I’m not a shoppaholic in the usual sense, but I’ve been known to have my moments. I will seldom come home with “too many clothes” but I’ve been known to buy more for ME than I buy for others if I get pointed in the direction of a store that carries items related to my hobbies.

As I’ve related in previous posts, I’m helping with the situation of a relative who has been ill. She kept everything. If she got new slippers, well the old ones are still there, “just in case.” And she views gifts as somehow sacred. She will never get rid of something that has been given to her as a gift, even if it isn’t her taste, is taking up too much room, is unnecessary to her life, or even when it has gotten old and worn out. I think that by hanging onto excess stuff, she missed opportunities to give useful items to people in need.

And so I’ve been reevaluating my own possessions. Yes, I have too much in certain categories. Compared to the closets of many Americans, my collection of clothes is small, but that is only “in comparison.” After all, I can only wear one pair of pants, one shirt, and one sweater at a time. There is a saying, “She who dies with the most stuff, still dies.”

I actually have been paring down in some other areas. There is a test: if you haven’t used it in two years, throw it out. I’m adding another test: when I have to dig behind too many things on the self to find a certain item, something has to go.

Back to Christmas shopping: How should I reevaluate my shopping in light of the too much stuff stuffing the closets of many of my giftees? Three ideas come to mind: Give the gift of time, give the gift of service, or give to a charity in the name of my loved ones.

A worthy charity that I have personal knowledge of and which puts the donations directly to service is The God’s Child Project. Please consider this group when you make decisions about giving to others this Christmas. We've found that some of our relatives have been pleased and touched when we've given in their name to this organization and others like it.

More about The God’s Child Project in the next posting.

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