This time of year it's really hard not to think of giving. I mean, not just presents for the kiddies, but charitable giving. We hear the Salvation Army Bell at every door of every store you're about to walk into to. Angel trees pop up every where covered with angels listing children in need. December is the month for giving. And every year, I get frustrated and upset and feel guilt over not being able to give. Long ago, Chris and I just gave up on gifts for the adults in our lives. Instead we put the focus on the kids. There's a long list of kids that seems to get a bit bigger every year and some of those also have birthdays in December. It gets tight. Compound this with the need to put money in every bucket of every bell ringer I pass and "adopt" twenty angels off the angel tree and we are looking at three bean dinner night for the next two months. What happens, in reality, is that I give some change to one bucket and I buy a book for one child at the local bookstore. Then, for the rest of the month I feel guilty for not giving enough, not doing enough, being not enough.
Saturday, Chris and I went to Whole Foods and ended up with nothing but cookies and a bottle of multi-vitamins in our cart and when we were checking out I noticed at the register you could donate $5 to feed breakfast to a family of four or $10 to feed them lunch or dinner. As Chris was handing over the bank card, I punched him in the arm and said "let's buy breakfast!". So we did. From there we headed to HyVee to buy cheese for nachos (don't ask, we'll get back on track in January) and as we were checking out Chris noticed a coupon for feeding a family of four for $5. So we did that.
The thing is, every time we buy food for Hooper at Pets Mart, Hooper donates a $1 to a local animal shelter. I think of this as teaching our dog to be charitable (yes, I realize Hooper has no idea, but I believe deep down that he does because he gives his treats up for my Dad's dog all the time). Every time Hooper buys treats, some less fortunate dog out there gets a treat. Why can't I do the same? If I'm going to buy myself treats (aka cookies), someone less fortunate then me should also get a treat (in this case a healthy breakfast). Treats for everyone! The real treat is convincing myself that this is enough and that I am doing what I can. I'm still working for that treat.