Gifts, Giving and Gratitude

Giving for the Holidays

The Holidays Season and upcoming New Year celebration are a great time to reflect on how you, as a person, have contributed to the world that surrounds you.  I am very fortunate: a wonderful husband, an intelligent and talented daughter, a lovely home in the city and a country get-away, and a successful business that continues to grow year after year.  Perhaps the things that bring me the most joy, though, are the “give’backs”.    Giving back to those in need, to research, to our community and to our world – there is truly nothing that can compare.

In his book “You Don’t Have To Die To Go To Heaven”, Derrick Sweet identifies 3  types of giving:

  1. Basic Giving
  2. Anonymous Giving
  3. Heavenly Giving

The difference between the 3 types is the level of anonymity.  With Basic Giving, everyone knows you did it.  The recipient thanks you.  You look good, feel good and maybe the receiver even tells someone else how nice you were.

 Anonymous Giving is giving without the title.  You send back the donation card with your credit card info but ask not to be listed in the thank you column by your name. You are still seen to be a generous, good soul by the person or charity since they see your name on the check.

But the truly selfless way to give back is by being a Heavenly Giver, an act in which nobody knows you are the giver and you don’t know the receiver.  Not to sound holier than thou, but this kind of gifting is actually a lot of fun. You feel really good, inside and outside.  It is the most pure form of giving, and I cannot think of a better time of year to be a Heavenly Giver than the holidays.

At my daughter’s school, I am part of a small group of moms who deliver food to families that are experiencing a hardship, be it financial or physical.  We remain anonymous, dropping off bags of prepared dinners with a doorman.  It is such a simple task yet it makes all the difference to a member of our community who is dealing with a very serious condition.  My family has also “adopted” inner city families for the holidays and played Santa Claus, buying and wrapping presents from their “wish lists” and delivering them to the principal at the school their children attend.  On Christmas morning, I often think of these children – children I have never met – and hope the presents under the tree told them how special they are. Because they ARE special!

I feel like Charlie Brown sometimes. When I see all of the decorations and the Black Friday sales and the commercialism of Christmas, it puts such a damper on the true meaning of this joyous occasion.  But acts of giving and kindness put it all back in perspective.   It does not have to center around a financial commitment.  Something as simple as helping a blind woman and her caregiver, a German shepherd named Lady (who is turning 4) to the Shuttle train platform at 42nd Street/Times Square can make the heart of even the meanest of Grinches grow twice as big.

Wishing everyone a very blessed holiday season filled with laughter, love and giving!

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