I have not lived a life that including being spoiled on the holidays. In fact, a majority of my childhood Christmas memories have been, well, less than stellar. Once I got into control of my holiday experience (when I had a job and was an adult) I turned things around drastically. If I had the money - I would not even scoff at dropping multiple thousands of dollars on Christmas. Completely serious.
The first part of my adoration for Christmas comes from decorating with Christmas lights. I enjoy putting up Christmas lights. Any gap or space larger than three or four inches deserves more bulbs. I typically keep to the blue and white lights for my own home - but I will helps friends out with their own adornments of photons. It is my hope that when I own a home again, I take over the neighborhood at Christmas to decorate every home around with a huge light display. Eight house minimum. Think "Christmas with the Kranks" level of involvement.
The second and even more important part about Christmas is the whole "Christmas Spirit" thing. I don't need to get a bunch of stuff, I am not worried about commercialization of Christmas. What I care about is that it is a time set aside to care. Not like an a month of awareness like they do for Breast Cancer or Black History; this is a season devoted to the idea that we should take time with our families and loved ones. In an America where we are afraid to even take our vacation time we have earned and much of our workforce faces loss of income just to care for a sick child it is a welcome respite to know that culturally we are making a period of time about others.
Yeah - there are some horrible consumerist aspects about Christmas and every other Holiday out there. But the idea behind it, behind all the fluff and the advertisements and the gift giving and caring is something I love. That I look forward to. That ideal can't be taken from me.
I have been quiet this year as the holidays approached because I have not had the best of years. I lost some family that were dear to me. However this silence does not mean I have not been busy. Or more accurately, I have been supportive of a project my wife cooked up last year. We are having our second annual toy drive for a local Children's Crisis Center. My wife has a lot more friends than I seem to so I am glad she got this thing going. In our first year we were able to donate three care loads of stuff - toys, games, hygiene items and clothes. This year we may have even more stuff to donate - which brings me nothing but joy.
I spent some time in one of these Crisis Center's as a child myself. I was waiting for a foster home placement and I understand a bit of the feelings and experiences these children have endured. I did not stay nearly as long as some of these kids have - so the depth of what they are feeling is beyond what many can imagine. There is a certain loneliness that really can only be experienced to be believed, and each of these kids endures that. I still remember the feeling, but I don't know how to communicate that emptiness I feel when I look back to that time. My mind has a memory and my heart has an emotion but between the two I can't decide what the best way to help others understand this is.
So I want to do more. If I could take all of these kids and put them into homes today that would support them and help them heal I would do so. If I had the money I would take them all myself. Hell - I have even considered building a group home to make sure that someone is looking out for these kids. These children deserve a shot, they deserve to have someone, all of us, making sure that they can do great things with their lives. That they can create supportive families for their children they will hopefully have in the future.
So in the next few days I will be helping make a large, kick-ass delivery to a local center. I am helping make sure a bunch of kids who will never know me have a decent Christmas. It is pretty awesome to think about that - and it is something that I know I want to do more of.
So to anyone who read's this (that isn't already involved) take a look at the link here and figure out if there is any thing there that you have or would like to donate. These kids need the village to step up and make sure they have someone looking out for them. You can message me directly (Facebook or Email) and I will help you get something in the hands of these kids.
You know they deserve it.