The Giving Season

By all that is holy, I will have my Christmas shopping done before December 1st.

A couple of things have to happen, though. eBay needs to cooperate with me and produce some really great deals. Some people need to let me know what they actually want. I need to get my act together and work really really hard on the few handmade projects that I decided I was going to do this year.

And did I mention the Christmas cards? And that I’m doing Obachan’s shopping for the great-grandchildren for her?

Anyway, as part of my effort to get the shopping done, I have a goal of a certain number of gifts per week to either order or purchase. Yesterday, I stopped in at the Woodinville Barnes & Noble to buy some calendars.

Some years ago, I decided that calendars were a very useful gift that people like to receive, especially at Christmas, because the New Year begins not long after and everyone needs a new calendar. So, being the dedicated shopper that I am, I quickly discovered everyone’s favorite “likes” when it comes to calendars, and my Barnes & Noble membership card gets quite a workout come the Christmas season. I must buy at least 7 to 10 calendars each year as gifts. Then, after Christmas, I always try and find one on clearance for the Webmaster to take to work.

So, as I walked into Barnes & Noble yesterday, childless (having just dropped Ane off at school and not needing to pick Tad up for another hour and a half), the first thing I see is a book drive stand. This particular Barnes & Noble has a program that lets people buy a book for a child at Children’s Hospital. You select a bookmark with a child’s gender and age, pick out an age-appropriate book, buy it and give it to the cashier to store away in their donation box that will be sent to the hospital for Christmas.

This would be the same Children’s Hospital in Seattle that has put Tad back together twice. Even though I have hated being there each time, because it meant that he was hurt, I was so incredibly grateful to have this caliber of hospital available to us.

We have spent time in the surgical ward each time we’ve been there, and the stories are heartbreaking. Tad’s first roommate was a nine-month-old girl waiting for heart surgery. His second roommate was a teenage boy who had a brain tumor removed.

Even though each visit to Children’s has been hard for us, it is also humbling. Broken bones mend. There is no fiberglass cast that you can wear for six weeks to fix cancer.

So I have a very tender spot in my heart for Children’s Hospital (and an empty spot in the checkbook, but that’s another story for another day), and I thought, I love giving books to kids anyway. I can definitely do this.

And the first bookmark I draw? Girl, age 5.

I think I know something about little girls that age.

I went to the children’s section, found one of the books that Ane loves (it was actually 3 books in 1, so it was even better), and after I found the calendars I was looking for, I bought and donated the book.

I don’t know if all the local B&N stores are doing this, but now I know I’ll need to stay out of the Woodinville one, or I am going to be tempted to do this each time I walk into the store.

At any rate, the Giving Season has begun. And with the current economic climate, I think that charities are going to be feeling a bigger pinch than usual. While we can’t give to every charity, I plan on doing what I can – even if it’s just handing Ane a quarter to put in the Salvation Army bucket when we pass it.

Because even with all the Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving still comes first.

2 Responses to “The Giving Season”

  1. Aunt Lynda
    November 7th, 2008 09:18

    Useful reminder of all I have to do before THE DAY. The school quarter is over Dec. 10. Think I can get it all done???

  2. Matthew
    November 8th, 2008 16:37

    Try raising the last $800,000 of a $9,000,000 YMCA in this climate!?

    (Oh, and I like Starbucks cards for Christmas) 🙂