Monday, December 12, 2005

How the Grinch Stole Christmas 2

Allow me a few rants before I get to the knitting, okay?

Whoever it was that first said "it's the thought that counts," was on the right track. However, most folks who say that these days simply aren't thinking!

Case in point 1: Folks who want to "provide a nice holiday" are usually thinking about what would make a "nice" holiday from the comfort of their lives. Unfortunately, the folks on the receiving end often don't have that comfort. To give a child a battery-operated toy when you can afford replacement batteries is one thing. To give that same toy to a child whose family has a tough time keeping a roof overhead and food on the table. Different story.

Case in point 2: "Holiday meals" with all the fixin's are a myth. Rockwell aside, lots of families aren't sitting down to a traditional turkey at the holidays. They're having a traditional beans and rice or whatever food their particular tradition dictates. Besides, are you sure they have an oven big enough? What about space to stow the leftovers? Rather than a 20 pound bird, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and the makings of that gawdawful green bean casserole, how about spending the same money on jars of peanut butter, boxes of cereal, some rice, noodles, canned veggies and tuna and soup and a chicken or two? Or even a grocery gift card so that they can pick out what they want.

Case in point 3: Children don't learn to be caring and compassionate by making one trip to a shelter or soup kitchen. As my friend M (who actually runs a soup kitchen) said: "This ain't no freak show. There's nothing to see. Move along." You want to help at the soup kitchen? Volunteer to help regularly, not just on Christmas. And volunteer ahead of time, not on Christmas Eve! You couldn't plan a party for 200 people and wait until the day before to hire wait staff! Well, soup kitchens can't do that either. "Holiday help" is probably schecduled in August! (or September at the latest). Plan ahead!
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