Wednesday, November 20, 2013

To kids from 1 to 92...

When we think of charitable causes for Christmas, what is one of the first ones that usually comes to mind?  If you said Toys for Tots, you're probably in a majority.

Yes, Christmas is a time when every child should enjoy a present or two under the tree so they can have wonderful holiday memories.  We helped an online friend of mine about 8 years ago when she and her husband were unemployed.  Her youngest was positive Santa would bring him the Spiderman action figure he'd been praying for.  I told her I would take care of it and wanted to get a family gift so I picked up a Simpsons Monopoly game she knew they'd like.  I went all over town for that damn Spiderman action figure but I finally found it, wrapped both presents and included a gift card to a local grocery store for them to have Christmas dinner made for them.  That kid was so happy and to this day, in his teens, he still tells people he KNOWS there is a Santa Claus because his family had nothing and suddenly there was everything he prayed for.  That is the spirit of Santa Claus and Christmas and something I will hold in my heart forever as I know he'll tell that story to his own kids when he grows up.

But what about those who aren't children anymore?  What about the forgotten ones who don't have family they see at the holidays to give them a present to let them know they're remembered?  I'm talking about seniors.  When I heard about the Be A Santa to a Senior program, I knew we had to help.  Much like adopting a family off of a Christmas tree at a local store, the paper ornaments on these trees have the name of a senior along with their wants.


I mean come on...who can't spare a couple of bucks you could probably dig out of your couch, car console or forego that morning cup of joe ONE TIME to buy one senior some shower gel and shampoo at the dollar store?  The necessities...the things we tend to take for granted would make this one woman a happy lady on Christmas morning.  So instead of buying for one...


...we bought for six.  Now you don't have to put them in gift bags, the organization wraps for them but we did because we wanted to.  We're checking back a few days before the deadline to make sure all of the seniors on our local tree have been taken care of and if they haven't, we'll grab the remaining few.

Still need convincing?  Watch this.  If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, watch from 3:00 to 4:30.  90 seconds will melt your heart.


You can find the trees at the Home Instead care facilities and/or participating CVS and Walgreens pharmacies.  To find out if there is a tree near you, click here and enter your zip code.  In our area, they are collecting gifts until December 9th.

If they're not in your area, call a local low income senior facility and see if they do something or want to start.  If they don't do an official program, bake them Christmas cookies to take over.  (Maybe do a regular batch and a batch for diabetics.)  I did this last year and the looks on the faces of the staff and residents was well worth the time to make them.  It doesn't take much to put a smile on the face of seniors who may be or feel forgotten this holiday season.

It not only makes them feel good, it makes you feel good and the karma Gods will smile upon you in wonderful ways.

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29 comments:

  1. I have to say I really enjoyed going shopping for our seniors, even if some of the things were boring like shampoo. At the same time, it reminded me of how lucky I am to be able to afford those mundane things and help those who need it. I am also thinking about doing the same for some kids. I need to find a kid who likes Star Wars figures and video games or something like that and help that kid out.

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    1. Me too. It was nice to think of being able to provide something so basic for people that we just assume everyone has. I found two scarves in the basement, I want to wash them up and donate them to the women's shelter.

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  2. (maybe my first one didn't go through, sorry if it's a double post)

    I'm tearing up at work and it's all your fault! Thanks! =P
    And I couldn't even see the video (which is probably a good thing!)
    I went to the site but there isn't anything set up near my home or work but I contacted the senior home down the street from me.

    You and the Mr are wonderful people! =]

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    1. Sorry! LOL Yeah, if you're tearing up without having watched the video, then watch it when you get home. ;-) So good of you to contact the senior home in your area! They appreciate anything you can do to bring Christmas cheer to their home. You're pretty wonderful yourself!

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  3. There isn't an official program like that here, but I bet the nursing homes around here would appreciate gift baskets of baked goods and fancy soaps.

    Every year a few of the elementary teachers put together a giving tree for kids in families that are struggling. They put the age and gender of the child but not the name on the ornament and then put what the kids want. The same group organizes food baskets for those families and the whole school chips in. Each grade (K-12) fills a box by asking each student to bring one item and years that we have more than13 families the staff fills a couple boxes too. Then one of the school clubs gets turkeys to add to the boxes. There are so many things I dislike about living in a small town, but this is one of the things that keeps me here.

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    1. I bet you're right!

      There is nothing to help build community than helping others. Especially in this day and age, the people struggling the most are people you may never have suspected.

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  4. Hey

    thanks I might do this too..We do toys for tots every year..and I also take some goodies and spend time with fur babies during christmas at the animal shelter...

    thanks for sharing the senior program details..will look into it...

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    1. Aww, so glad to hear you do that for the fur babies! I might look into that!

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  5. That's a fantastic idea! I've never heard of this program, but I'll have to look into it. Oh, and thanks for having me cry into my morning cup of coffee... what you did for your online friend had me weeping. There aren't enough people like you around anymore. It made my heart grow 3 sizes!

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    1. It's a great program and now that we know about it, I think we'll make it an annual thing. LOL...do you like your coffee a little salty? I figured since we're not having kids of our own, I was more than happy to do that for a little boy to help him believe in the magic of Christmas a few years more and hope he'll pay it forward one day.

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  6. This is lovely. What a generous idea. I remember as a kid singing at a Senior's home and the joy it brought. Such a great memory. :)

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    1. It takes so little to bring so much joy to seniors in a setting like that! I'm sure they'd appreciate adults coming in and singing too...tune up that singing voice! :-)

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  7. My family loves the shopping for seniors trees. Speaking selfishly, they are easy to buy for because they want such basic items.

    My sister always looks for the old men who want tobacco products. She says it's fun to go to the smoke shop and buy things she has no clue about (and there's something about giving smokes as a gift that's just a little bit "wrong", which our whole family appreciates in a warped way).

    I also love giving to animal charities. With coupons and sales, you can score a lot of food for the shelters and they really appreciate it (I remember one time with the help of my sister's crazy couponing, I filled the back of my car with boxes of cat food--the shelter was so excited to see it)

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    1. Yes, they are super easy to buy for which is why we took three each. That's hilarious about the smokes and I'd probably get a giggle out of it too. But you figure at that age, they've earned the right to their vices.

      I will check with our local shelter and see what's on their wishlist and keep my eye out for sales!

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  8. Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for posting about this!

    We frequently do the wish trees for the children, but as someone who loves senior citizens I ALWAYS want to make their Christmas brighter as well! I will definitely be participating in this!

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    1. You're so very welcome! I'm sure they will appreciate it. Seniors rock. If you ever want to know the truth about anything, they tell it like it is!

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  9. What generous people you are, I am proud to call you my friend. I will look into our local senior centers and see what they have going this year....I had never thought of doing this. Who knows, sometime in the near future I, myself, might benefit from a program like this! Thanks for caring!

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    1. Aww, thanks so much! The feeling is mutual. We thought the same thing about that program and hope that we never have to use it but in the meantime are more than happy to help.

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  10. Oh, I am such a sap. Thanks for the cry for the day! We always try to do some extra Christmas shopping for kiddos in need and the seniors program is awesome. Of course we do our baskets for neighbors every year as well. Fun stuff.

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    1. You're welcome! ;-) Yes, both programs are great and so glad you show the girls it's good to give back. They're great kids and it's because of you and your hubby's great influence!

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  11. That is awesome and there are LOTS of trees in my area! I'm definitely going to do this!!!

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    1. Yay!! So glad you have a plethora of trees in your area. The seniors will be so thankful for your generosity!

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  12. This is so beautiful. This whole post made me teary-eyed between the spiderman toy and the seniors video! I definitely am going to look into this program. I think it's is a wonderful idea.

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    1. Thanks Brianna! I hope they're doing it in your area and if not, they'd appreciate any show of holiday spirit you'd like to give!

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  13. With four kids, there were some years we struggled to put something under the tree, especially the year I lost my job just before Thanksgiving. I was too worried about making the house payment to get very crazy about gifts. It was lucky I was crafty...my daughters each got a Barbie doll and I made furniture for them with plastic canvas, remember that stuff? Anyway, when it got better, we picked a family or a couple of kids from some of the many giving trees local retailers set up, and the kids loved to help shop for the gifts. I think that's one of the reasons my kids are so generous now.

    It breaks my heart to think of people who don't have family around, may not even have any family left. I'm going to make a special trip to Walgreen's and see if they're doing that here. I read your post just before going out to collect my free birthday breakfast at Perkins Restaurant, and it was directly responsible for a local soldier who is deployed getting a tin of cookies from me, in support of Perkins' campaign to send out 2000. Thanks for helping put me in the Christmas spirit.

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    1. Yes, being crafty can come in handy for sure. I'm finishing up a craft project for a friend that I hope he likes. It's always good to give back to others when you're back on your feet. My friend did the same thing for another family when they were able to and she said she felt good being able to make another family feel the way they did when we helped. That's a neat campaign! Will have to see if there are any Perkins on our next road trip. Unfortunately they went out in our parts long ago.

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  14. Every year we do the gifts for kids with parents in prison...their little faces just light up! And we have a tradition of helping one person in the neighborhood who's had a rough time of it and "Santa" delivers a gift to their doorstep. The best was the young girl across the street lost her dad in a tragic way and her mom is a drug addict, so she was living with grandma. She had outgrown her bicycle, so my hubs went out and bought her a pink and purple OCC bike with all the trimminings and we wrapped it in a giant bike bag and he snuck across the street before dawn and had it on their doorstep with a tag that said "from Santa". It was AWESOME to watch her and her cousins open that up and not have a clue who gave it to them...except Santa of course. We peeked out the window and you could see the adults looking up and down the street. We've never said a word and never will to any of the ones we do this for. Everyone deserves some Christmas magic and for it to be anonymous just makes it all the more special for them...and us. It truly is a blessing to be able to give like that, big or small.

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    1. That is flippin' awesome! There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you made someone else's day and even make a few believers out of the relatives. I told the same thing to my friend to never tell him where the Spiderman came from.

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  15. There isn't a tree in my area - but I have definitely been inspired to do something special. I used to volunteer with Seniors before I was married and had a baby (who is now 2!) I am sad to realize how long it has been since I made the time....well thank you for a) making me cry and b) inspiring me to not let this Christmas go by without finding a way to be a light in a (or many) Senior's holiday!

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