Commercials kill me. Coffee commercial. Coca-cola commercials. Those damn Budweiser Clydesdales get me every. freaking. time.
This year, though, this year I’m teary over something else, as well. I’m grateful. I’m grateful to be back home in New England with the person I love in the place I love, surrounded by people I love and who love us back.
My family is happy, healthy, and well. We all have enough food in the pantry and money to pay the heating bills.
And I can never, ever, take any of those things for granted again. Which makes this year’s annual article on giving even more poignant for me. Because I am also so desperately grateful for the ability and opportunity to give back.
Now, maybe you don’t give at this time of year. Maybe you can’t, or you just don’t, or whatever. If that’s the case, cool. I have no problem with you making the choices that work for your world.
But! If you’re looking for ideas, may I suggest:
The Card Family. Visa cards. Gas cards. Starbucks cards. Target cards. McDonald’s cards. Movie theatre cards. No, giving cash isn’t actually all that special, but a bit of a shopping spree when you never get that is special. And the chance to hang out with your friends and actually buy a coffee, or go to the movie, or truly participate can be a blessing to a teenager.
The Practical Stuff. Warm hats, gloves, and scarves. Boots. Socks. Underwear. Pajamas, slippers, robes. No, none of it is glamorous. You won’t make any child squeal or teenager actually break a smile. But it will matter. A lot.
Toiletries. Toothbrushes. Toothpaste. Brushes. Deodorant. Baby powder. Tampons. Soap and travel soap dishes. These are all still needed during the holidays, when most people’s minds turn toward the fun stuff. Don’t forget the mundane is still important. Try to donate full-sized stuff, though. The travel-sized and hotel-sized stuff isn’t as helpful as we all want it to be.
Christmas-y stuff. Artificial trees. Wrapping paper. Tape and ribbon. Stocking stuffers. Tree ornaments. Batteries! The right organization can get these to the right recipients, and everyone will be happy.
Traditional gifts. Art supplies. Puzzle books with pencils. How-to books. Anything Avengers this year. Ball caps. Fancy toiletries (boys like body wash and cologne, too, remember!). Kits – from gingerbread houses to archeology digs. These are the things that never go out of style. Don’t underestimate their appeal.
Unexpected food. Chocolates. Nuts. Tea bags. Ground coffee. Powdered creamer. Sugar. Granola bars. Cookies. Most food bank donations are healthy – as they should be. But sometimes, especially during the holidays, treats are nice, too.
And there you have it; some suggestions if you’re looking to give this season. And if you’re not, feel free to pass the list along!
We’ve gotten through another year, Poppets. I say we’re doing pretty damn well – and God bless us, everyone.
Until next month, Poppets, Merry Whatever you celebrate. Take care of you – and each other.