Philanthropy Thursday: ‘Tis the Season

When I hear Christians say that they want to put the “Christ” back into “Christmas”, I get it. After all, without the religious aspect of Christmas, what I am left with is that big fat guy who brings my kids lots of presents. Presents, presents, presents. Nothing chills my blood faster than hearing one of my kids whine, “I want this!!!” while holding up a toy catalog.

But, here is the rub: we aren’t Christians. And while I make sure my kids hear the story of Jesus’ birth, it isn’t the focus of our holiday. For us, the focus of the holiday is about family–our family and those families around us. We have all sorts of silly traditions that we do in our home and have added one “unsilly” one this year: we have adopted a family.

If you type “adopt a family” into Google, you will see a long list of organizations that promote this concept at the holidays. What we did was to email a friend who works for a local battered women’s organization. This organization provides shelter to women and their children who are trying to escape an abuser. Many of these women leave their homes suddenly with only the clothes on their back and their children by their sides. The holidays must seem so strange and lonely for someone who is in hiding and trying to begin a new life with no money, no possessions.

“Our” family is a mom with two girls. All we know about them is their age and their modest wish list. Reading their wish list makes me want to cry. There is no mention of ipod or wii or High School Musical. There are only ‘practical’ items along with one doll request from each girl. One doll; that is all.

So, while we will continue to stuff dollar bills into the ringing Salvation Army worker’s metal bucket and will drop off games for Toys for Tots, we will also begin shopping for a very special family we will never meet. Wrapped up in those boxes and stuffed into those gift bags will be our love and hope that the next Christmas will find them in their own home, with a Christmas tree, colored lights and freedom from fear and want.


  1. AnotherMomCreation says

    A very nice post…. thanks.

  2. That’s a lovely idea.
    Our town has an angel tree with the ages and wish lists of needy local kids – we’ve been doing that for a few years now.

  3. Alpha DogMa says

    We also emphasize that Christmas is about celebrating the friends and family who we’ve loved through the last year and the year to come.

    Your new tradition sounds lovely.

  4. Beautiful….glad to see you at your posts again, I’ve missed you 🙂

  5. Just Seeking says

    We do this every year. My girls LOVE it. I try to pick a family with girls about their age so they can help pick things they think the girls will like. It’s the best philanthropy stuff I’ve done with them–because they like it so much—even though it’s still pretty intangible at this age.
    And I agree. Christmas is about giving—giving love, giving thanks, giving to those you love. We love Christmas!

  6. That is a nice idea…I think I’ll try to match you.

  7. creative-type dad says

    A group of us do this at work. It’s pretty amazing

  8. Mrs. Chicky says

    I think this is so great. You’ve inspired me to look into this for my family.

  9. This sounds interesting and a good idea, especially during the holidays. Can you (or any of the commenters who have done it) recommend a website? I don’t know if any of the ones on Google might be sketchy. I want to make sure I choose one that’s legit.

  10. Fairly Odd Mother says

    Hi Anonymous,

    My recommendation would be to contact a local charity with which you have some knowledge—it may be a local shelter for women, or the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) or Meals on Wheels, etc—you will probably need to deliver gifts to the organization, so pick something relatively close to you. Many churches also ‘adopt families’ and may be able to give you a contact person. Good luck and thanks for looking into it!

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