Monday, December 11, 2006

The Spirit of Giving

Right after Thanksgiving I start to get this really excited feeling - a feeling of happy anticipation for the holidays. I look forward to getting together with family, decorating the house, getting a Christmas tree, driving around town and seeing all of the Christmas lights. I love all of it.

But more and more, my excitement is mixed with anxiousness. There seems to be very little time to get everything done before Christmas and the list is long. I have to think of the perfect present for everyone in my family. I have to shop for the presents and wrap the presents. I have to put up the Christmas tree. I have to put up the Christmas lights. I have to bake cookies for all of my neighbors. I have to buy special little gifts for each of my co-workers. I have to take the perfect photo of Little Guy for our Christmas cards. I have to order the cards and mail the cards. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Only I don't have to do any of it. I just feel like I do. Why?

I'm not going to try to answer that question in this post (although it is a question worth pursuing - just not now because, to be frank, Little Guy just went down for his nap and General Hospital is on and, well, watching General Hospital (while eating chocolate cookies) is my favorite thing to do so I must go watch NOW....). But just really quick, in the name of trying to focus less on the materialism of the holidays and more on the spirit of the holidays, I wanted to take a breather from all of this hubabaloo and make a few recommendations for websites/posts you might want to check out if you're interested in donating to a cause during the holidays this year.

Her Bad Auction: This is an ingenious idea that several of my favorite bloggers came up with to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy Research in honor of Her Bad Mother and her nephew Tanner, who is battling this disease. There are tons of fabulous items that are being raffled off. You can buy tickets on the site. This is your chance to win cool stuff while donating to charity. How awesome!

The Really Useful Gift Catalog: The Adventist Development and Relief Organization's Really Useful Gift Catalog is my favorite resource for Christmas gifts. This website is set up just like in that you add "items" to your basket, but instead of adding books and CDs, you can add things like 10 sanitary napkins for a mother in India who just delivered a baby ($1.00) or a set of flip flops to protect the feet of a child ($2.00) or a loving nurse for a baby at an orphanage in Russia for one month ($4.00). You will be amazed by how little it costs to make a difference in someone's life and how easy it can be. You can also donate in someone's name. I love this!

Sunshine Scribe's Gift Ideas: Sunshine Scribe has a new column about at Mama Blogs Toronto. Her recent article had some great tips on including causes in your holiday giving and engaging children in meaningful holiday activities that give back to the community.

And here are two quick and easy actions, which will take less than a minute each:

The Hunger Site: Jenny at Mama Drama mentioned this on her blog so most of you have already probably heard of this, but I think it bears another mention here on my list. Go to this site, click on the yellow button and they will donate one cup of staple food to the hungry. You can click every day!

Doctors Without Borders: As I mentioned in my last post, you can generate $1.00 a day by clicking on the Advertisement running in my ad banner and searching for something "red" - like "red scarf". It takes less than a minute!


Anonymous Jenn said...

great idea, way to get back to the basics!

4:36 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I feel the same way on all the holiday hub bub.....why do we think we can get all of this done in 25 days or less and be stress free?

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know. So hectic. But worth it for the babies, yes?

6:48 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Great . . . another thing to add to my Christmas shopping list. It's hard enough to shop for everyone in my entire extended family and now I have to donate to charity, too? Is that REALLY what Christmas is all about? Oh yes, I guess it is. Thanks for reminding us.

7:12 PM  
Blogger jen said...

i love it. and yes, yes, yes.

exactly how it should be, and who i want to be. and will be.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Red Rollerskate said...

Oh my gosh. That is amazing. I'm definitely clicking. Thanks for posting.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Random Musings Of My Life said...

great idea. I am going to check some of these out.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Dana said...

I feel the same. The holidays are fast approaching and I'm never ready until it's all over.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

Don't you dare stress out on over Christmas. It spoils everything. Pare down your list and enjoy the season with your adorable son and fabulous huz!

10:12 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Janet: yes, definitely worth it for the babies.

Eric: LOL. Sorry to stress you out even more!

Izzy: so what you're saying is that I shouldn't worry about finishing Little Guy's one-year scrapbook by Christmas?? Cuz I'm planning to stay up for an extra hour every night until xmas to get it done. (I'm only half kidding.)

10:22 PM  
Blogger Mary-LUE said...

Hey there! It feels like forever since I've commented. I've been coming by though!

Thanks for sharing all these great ideas!

10:28 PM  
Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

I love that really useful gift catalog! Thanks for sharing!

4:45 AM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

Thanks for the rec's.

Why *do* we feel we have to do the cute kid Christmas card thing? I was up so late last night trying to get the cards done.

Why do we feel we have to do any of this Christmas stuff?

And why aren't I too eating a chocolate cookie like you?

7:42 AM  
Blogger Waya said...

I gave up on running around the holidays getting things done for other pple. You're too good to do that!

And thanks for all the links.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

wait a minute - do you know jo!? I was just reading her blog and saw your comment, then realized that you commented on my blog, and you got my name from yogamama's blog. jo! and I work together and yogamama and I went to college together. If you and jo! know each other too, that would be really weird!!

5:31 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Posts like these go a long way toward reducing the stress! Useful info and warm fuzzies all in one go.


5:45 PM  
Blogger Rashenbo said...

I'm enjoying your blog very much. I found you through some reference to the ROFL awards... Thanks for sharing!


5:57 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Rashenbo: thanks for your comment and for visiting here!

Kristen: I don't know jo! in "read life". She visited my blog the other day and then I visited hers and I love it already. So we're just getting to be virtual friends. :)

And hey, you went to college with yogamama? Cool. I don't know yogamama in real life either but I visit her blog. It's a small blog world isn't it? LOL.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous chelle said...

Totally adoring all the warm and fuzzies this year!

4:12 PM  
Blogger sunshine scribe said...

Love this post ... and thanks for the linky love my friend.

Such a hectic time of year that it is good to just stop and breathe and get back to the basics :)

7:43 AM  

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