Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

It’s the holidays, Poppets. Oooo….I do love the holidays. The lights. The colors. The music. The food. Laughter, friends, and goodwill. Traditions that have spanned longer than I’ve been alive, and that just started last year. I love it all. Especially the traditions.

A few years back, David and I were in pretty bad shape financially. Really bad shape, actually. Our friend, Mac, sat down to do her charitable giving that year and, instead of giving to the ASPCA, she gave to us. $100. Now, it doesn’t seem like much. That year? It was a ridiculous amount of money. What none of us realized, though, was a tradition was born.

Every year since then, David and I have given $100 in her name. We’ve given to individuals, a family, organizations, even once the innkeepers of a place we’d been staying, when we learned they were on food stamps. That $100 in Mac’s name has become part of our holiday tradition.

Another tradition of mine is to buy a toothbrush and full-sized toothpaste every time I go to the store from November 1st through Christmas. Sometimes, that’s once a week. Sometimes, it’s every day. However often, though, I buy a toothbrush and toothpaste. Between Yule and Christmas, I find a homeless shelter wherever I am, and deliver them. David is British Canadian, so he grew up with a strong sense of Boxing Day being the day to make charitable donations. For him, it was gloves, scarfs, socks, underwear. The small things people tend to forget about. We have combined our two traditions quite nicely, and now deliver my toothbrushes and his gloves on December 26th.

My point is holiday traditions don’t have to be about turkey or beef for dinner. Or the chorale concert you always attend. Or decorating the tree with your friends and too much eggnog. Don’t get me wrong – I have those traditions, too, and I love them. But holiday traditions can be about more than that, too.

If you have a tradition of giving, great. If you don’t, it’s never too late – or too soon – to start one:

  • Give in honor or in memory of someone. A teacher who supported you. Your drag mother. The friend who made it easy to come out. The sister who loans you her skirts (even if she draws the line at her shoes). The brother who taught you to tie a necktie.
  • Give your time. Not all of us have the financial resources to give money. Believe me, I get that. Contact Bellingham Food Bank (360.676.0392 at 1824 Ellis Street in Bellingham). Or one of the animal organizations (The Whatcom Humane Society: 360.733.2080 at 2172 Division Street in Bellingham or The Alternative Humane Society: 360.671.7445 at in Bellingham). Or Northwest Youth Services, which has explicit Queer Youth Space, (360.734.9862 at 1020 N. State Street in Bellingham). They will have ways you can donate your time, knowledge, empathy, muscles, brains, and passion. Whatever cause is dear to your heart, you can donate your time to it.
  • Combine traditions. Invite your friends over to decorate the tree and drink too much eggnog ~ and ask that everyone bring a single toy, stick of deodorant, full-sized toiletry, or jar of peanut butter. Pick a theme and ask everyone to bring one of that thing. The goal is to reach critical mass – have a small pile of something, without anyone having to spend more than they have, or feel bad because they couldn’t afford much.

And that, dear Poppets, is how traditions are made. I wish you well at the end of every month, but especially during this time of year. For some of us, it’s the best time of the year. For others, not so much. Wherever you fall in that spectrum, my holiday wish for you is peace, now and always.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.

No comments: