Some people truly believe this. Don't believe me? Read on. It's the most wonderful time of the year. For some. For others the holidays are a painful reminder of empty stomachs and empty space beneath the Christmas tree (if there is one).
Thankfully there are charities and kind people aware of their good fortune who choose to give back to their communities and less fortunate neighbors. It's one of my favorite things about the holidays. One doesn't have to look far for an opportunity to make a difference.
I've been fan of charity work for a long time. Not because I am a selfless saint but because in my late teens and early twenties I was vain, selfish, and frivolous. I disgusted myself and decided to volunteer as a Big Sister during my lunch breaks at work. Once or twice a week I also volunteered at Boston homeless shelter's men's medical clinic at 6:00 a.m. before work.
My days were long. 6 am at the clinic, work from 8-4, head to the local grammar school for meeting with my Little Sister, and class from 6-9. I loved it. I needed the reminder that one of my purposes for living was to share my good fortune with others to the best of my ability. The company I worked for at the time was involved with many community charities in Boston's South End. I remember during one toy drop at the Salvation Army one of my coworkers remarked disgusted about one of the children's toy requests. The child asked for one of the latest handheld video game systems.
"How dare he! These kids are needy? Why don't they ask for socks and shoes? These kids parents are probably on welfare and abusing the system."
On and on.
I was pissed. Yes. How dare this child believe in Santa Claus and the kindness of strangers and ask for something that his well off classmates will receive?
"Well, these kids need help from their parents to fill out the requests maybe they're asking for these gifts so they can sell them for drug money. The kids will never see them!"
Of course! Anyone needing help of any kind is a drug dealer/addict/thief/schemer.
Of course! It all makes sense.
This was a company where no one batted an eyelash at a 22-year-old driving a new top of the line Porsche. MONEY. These people could afford to buy each child an Xbox if they wanted to. Even those of us further down the totem pole were doing well. Very well. We would shop and dine on Newbury Street without batting an eyelash but a video game for a child? NO WAY!
Why make a child's innocent dream come true when you can judge and shame and be an asshole?
Pardon my rant but this issue comes up every year and I'm sick of it. If a child's innocent request for the latest toy offends you then maybe you should redirect your energy.
Christmas isn't solely about consumption but we are talking about children. They believe in Santa and magic and just want to be like their friends. For one day they'd like to forget they are poor, that they have less than everyone else, or that they are different.
Shame on you. You are an asshole. You probably also donate your expired cans of pork and beans to the local food shelf while patting yourself on the back for being so charitable.
If you don't have the means to afford an "extravagant" gift then buy the child something else and be quiet. It isn't a big deal. Maybe some of the requests don't come from a good place but who cares? Would it really kill you to squash the inner cynic for a minute and believe that your good deed and gift will go to someone that is truly deserving?
Stop being an asshole.
Help your neighbors and remember what the season is about: helping in any way you can.
Not judging innocent children for having the audacity to hope and dream and want to be like everyone else for one short day.