Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sharing during the Holidays

Today, my main goal is to spend as much time as humanly possible on the couch. With snow, rain, and freezing rain, R and I weren't sure whether we would make it to Giz's. Thankfully, things cleared up on Christmas day.

Although we don't officially celebrate Christmas, maybe Chrismakah (a combination of Christmas and Hanukkah), I can see how important the holiday is to so many people. So, R and I try to help out by sponsoring a family in need. It's a nice way to make a small difference in someone's life and actually see the people who are receiving the gifts. It makes the process of giving more personal than something like online donations.

This year, we were paired with a young single mom with two kids (a 5 year old girl and a 6 year old boy). I called the mom up a couple of weeks before Christmas to see what her kids would like to receive. I could tell from the sound of her voice that she was around my age, if not a few years younger. I can't imagine raising two young kids on my own, so both R and I felt really good about being able to help her.

Luckily, I had a great present for the little girl, a doll that Giz had in an unopened box (don't know why). For the mom, I was happy to share some of the mounds of creams that Giz has given to me. Plus, Giz donated an angel and bracelet. We picked up some K'Nex for the little boy (man...Lego is expensive) and gift certificates for the movie theatre. Plus, when talking about the family with some friends of ours, they generously wanted to drop off a couple of gifts for the kids.

In this program, the focus is actually on food, specifically donating Christmas dinner. I know that the requirements are really only to bring groceries for dinner. But, what's Christmas without the sweets?

I filled a tin with sweets I had made. The first layer consisted of a couple of Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and Strawberry Oatmeal Squares (I used Giz's Homemade Strawberry Jam).

The second layer was Puppy Chow. In fact, you probably make some version of it yourself and call it something else. So good.

For the top layer, I used up the rest of the infamous sugar cookies with some festive sprinkles.

I added a couple of cookies I bought at the French bakery:

Overall, the experience was very good. Though, I left with a heavy heart. When going into the woman's apartment, the kids ran up to meet us at the door and gave us some cute homemade cards saying thank you and merry Christmas. They quickly found the tin full of sweets and grabbed a cookie each. The mother seemed appreciative. But, it was very obvious that she was high and the place reeked of pot. I'm open-minded about that stuff, but not when it comes being around kids. It's not fair that they should have to be surrounded by drugs and that their (maybe) sole caregiver is stoned. I'd have to assume that it's a regular thing, otherwise why smoke when you're expecting someone who is donating food and gifts to you?

Still, the experience was generally positive. Knowing that the kids have presents to open for Christmas and a full Christmas dinner is reason enough to do it again.

Happy holidays everyone!



Melanie said...

Hmmmm...that makes me sad about the environment those kids must be living in. But bless your hearts for trying to do something good. I loved the post - it's a good reminder that I need to keep looking outside of my own little world this holiday season.

kat said...

What a sad story. You have to feel for those kids. They are so lucky someone like you helped to make their Christmas better

What's Cookin Chicago said...

How sweet and thoughtful of you! I'm sure everything you provided was greatly appreciated. :)

OhioMom said...

I know the children will remember the kindness of strangers who took the time to think of them.


Bunny said...

You have to think that maybe they wouldn't have had Christmas dinner if you didn't bring it, your a sweetheart.

Anonymous said...

Let me just say that I AM NOT OPEN-MINDED about this sort of thing. Raising kids while completley sober is hard enough, I can't imagine the kinds of dangerous things they can get into when you are only half there. You are absolutely fabulous for doing this but I too would be so disappointed...I might have even had a little freak out. Glad you were there for the kids, who knows what their holiday would have been like.

Wendy said...

You're an absolute star for taking part in this. Will look out for something similar in my area next year.

Ivy said...

Poor kids. Seems that the mum made her choices but the kids will have sad Christmas Memories and maybe remember the strangers who were so kind to them one year. It was a great gesture what you did.

grace said...

kudos to you for taking part in this! and of all things to give, puppy chow is an awesome choice--that's good stuff. :)

Sunshinemom said...

What a plight for children to live in! I wonder how a mother can do that to her own children! I am so happy you were able to bring light to their lives for a day!

Dharm said...

You are always so inspiring trying to help people everywhere. May God bless you and yours abundantly and Hope you had a Blessed Christmas. My life has certainly been enriched meeting you and Psychgrad albeit only on in cyberspace... Much love from Malaysia!

Srikitchen said...

first time to ur blog and it is too good!
do visit my blog when u find time and join in the savory event going in my blog!
Wish u a very happy new year!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Two families were blessed over the holidays those that received and those that gave. Good for you for making their Christmas brighter!!

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