Being Charitable In Modern Times

By EMMA BARLOW, special to The Daily Damn

The holiday season is known for being the season of giving. Organizations like the Salvation Army post people outside of stores to gather your extra change, and put up Angel Trees in the mall in order to give us the opportunity to help someone less fortunate than ourselves. I am so glad to participate in this each year. More importantly, I get my children involved in learning to love others by giving.

With the current economy, it is difficult sometimes to be able to afford multiple Christmas gifts and donations to others, but there are so many things we can do for others that cost only time. No money exchanged. Time is so valuable as a commodity anyways, and all it takes is a willingness to take time out of our schedules. It certainly helps if one has a heart to serve others, even when sitting in on a Saturday with your hot cocoa seems like the better  (and easier) option.

I feel like this value of generosity and serving others first is dwindling more and more as time passes. Every year as we approach Thanksgiving, we get hit with advertisements from all corners. On the television, radio, and every store we visit. Our children point to every toy and proclaim their insane need and want for it, and make a Christmas list that is five feet long. I enjoy surprising my kids with their gifts on Christmas morning, it brings me joy to see their little faces light up. However, I am afraid that this season has become too much about gifts, and taking the time to serve others has gone on the back burner. In the other room, on the old stove that isn’t really utilized anymore.

Many families celebrate with Santa, but seem to forget the backstory of Saint Nicholas, who gave gifts to children who would have had nothing on Christmas. This Christmas, and every other from now on, I want to find ways to help my family see past the gifts they will receive. To be a gift to someone else. To be selfless.

I pondered things that I could do to help another person and show love to them this Christmas, and there are so many opportunities. There are always an abundance of homeless shelters that take the time to serve others a hot meal during these unforgiving winter months. Donating unused blankets in good condition for those who don’t have a warm home seems like a humane thing to do. We could visit a nursing home, because most of the time all the elderly want is a listening ear or someone to read them a Christmas story. Is there an elderly person on your street? Why not take one of your extra string of lights and string some up on there home, and set aside some cookies from the batch you made from your office holiday party and bring them some holiday cheer and just show them love. Little things like these could brighten someone’s whole season, and are great activities to get your children involved in.

For my children, I want their hearts to be soft towards others, and to lay down their wants and needs for the sake of someone else’s.

And that’s my giving a hoot.


Emma is an extremely busy and proud mother of two young, strapping lads. She lives in the Phoenix Metropolitan area with her husband of six years and is an active member in the faith community.

Editor’s Note: Hello readers, check out the updated archives! Thanks for visiting The Daily Damn!

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2 thoughts on “Being Charitable In Modern Times

  1. Eric says:

    A priest once told me to forgive during Christmas – a time ‘for giving’ – a kind word to the lowliest in our society goes a long way.
    Emma – you are absolutely right!

    • Emma B. says:

      Thank you, Eric! It’s all about love and valuing each person as a human being. I like the play on words with ‘forgiving’, that’s neat!

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