In another lifetime, I worked in human services and I can tell you, whatever you give, we’re grateful for. I can also tell you, though, that everybody and their neighbor are donating canned green beans, Stovetop stuffing, Barbie dolls and action figures. And thank God for it because those are the cornerstones of human services holiday drives. Every single can of green beans and Barbie doll will find a home, I promise.
However, there are other needs as well. And you know what people aren’t donating? People aren’t donating…
- wrapping paper, ribbon and tape (because sometimes it’s really nice for a parent to be able to wrap his or her kids’ presents);
- artificial Christmas trees, ornaments and stockings (because, seriously, every kid should have these);
- stocking stuffers (because there is little sadder than an empty stocking);
- gifts for teenagers - especially teenage boys* (because everybody likes to get things for the little ones but how tough is it to be 13 and watch your younger siblings get gifts while you get…nothing);
- full-sized toiletries (because guess what? people still need to brush their teeth!);
- gift cards for gas stations (because sometimes the greatest gift you can give a family is a way to get to work);
- board games the whole family can play (because it’s nice to come together occasionally);
- books (because yes, kids really do still read);
- adult-sized underwear - especially men's (because adults are in need this time of year, too);
- AA batteries (because people donate the electronics but forget about the batteries to run them. I wish I was joking.)
*I put the asterisk there because teenage boys tend to be the most difficult category to buy for so here are some specific suggestions: ballcaps for our local teams; gloves; t-shirts with funny sayings on them; posters of bands or cars or sayings (not religious, please); walkmen (with the batteries!); clever boxer shorts; gift certificates for CD's; backpacks, gloves and scarves; art supplies like sketchbooks, paints and pencils; "How To" books; and science fiction, adventure or action novels.
Now, Poppets, seriously, I meant it when I said you don’t have to give. I meant it when I said Thank God for green beans and stuffing. However, many of us do start thinking of giving at this time of year. So, if you’re going to give anyway, why not give a little something different?
If you’re giving or not, if you’re celebrating a religious holiday or a secular one, wherever and whoever you are…My warmest wishes to you, Poppets. Until next month, be safe, be sane, call a cab…and take care of you.