Ok so I realize it's weird that my first post isn't exactly a "reason" but hear me out because I swear it's worth it. Every year I start worrying in September what I’m going to get my family for Christmas. I stress over what my budget is. I flip out because if I only hand my parents a pair of Broadway show tickets then they don’t really have anything to unwrap. So then I end up running out and buying them some sweaters just because. I run back and forth to Old Navy a dozen times because our tree looks bare and perhaps my fiancée *could* use another set of fleece pajama bottoms. Which of course he really doesn’t b/c I just end up wearing them anyway. My point? Every year it’s a vicious cycle of endless spending on things that my loved ones don’t need, and might not even want for that matter. But the sad reality is that there are hundreds and thousands of people out there who would be overjoyed to receive a warm pair of fleece pajama bottoms or a sweater. Unlike me, these people are out there worrying if they will be able to keep their heat going all winter and because of this know they won’t be able to afford gifts for their children at all. Every year I do make a point to sponsor a needy family or take an angel off of a gift tree in the mall. These people are not asking for front row tickets to Wicked this Christmas. For the most part they want simple things like a winter jacket or a blanket. It honestly breaks my heart. And with the economy the way it is I’ve noticed over the last few years that it’s becoming harder and harder for me to find ways to help. Two years ago I had my best friend’s mother in-law pick me some angels from the giving tree in her supermarket. But last year the store decided not to participate. And sadly this year the entire location closed leaving my friend’s mother in-law unemployed herself this holiday season. So last year I had to put my feelers out a little further. Thankfully my best friend’s office sponsors a family in need each year so I volunteered to get some of the items on their wish list. So this is why I was absolutely overjoyed to hear that this year JcPenney and the Salvation Army have teamed up to make it easier than ever for people to give to those in need. You can go to JcPenney’s website and select your angels online. You just type in your zip code and it will provide you with a list of children and the elderly in your area who could use your help this Christmas. Feel free to search in other zip codes as well too. You can purchase your gifts online directly from JcPenney and have them shipped right to your angel. They also provide you with shipping instructions should you chose to purchase your gifts from other stores as well (I love that part the best!). I believe this is actually the second year for this program. I honestly didn’t know about it last year or I would have been all over it. Since I watch TV constantly I’m pretty sure it wasn’t as heavily advertised last holiday season. But this year I’ve already seen several commercials for the program and I’m thrilled. I think through the power of the media and the internet there’s a wonderful chance that a record number of family’s can be helped this year. I’m making an effort to tell as many people as possible about this program because it makes giving so easy. Think about it! You don’t even have to leave your desk at work to make someone else’s holiday wish come true. Ingenious! I realize that not all of us are in a position to help, but maybe you know someone who is. So please everyone spread the word. I know I am!
And on a side note: I know I mentioned not being able to find ways to help. I feel like I need to add a disclaimer that last year I did see the Toys For Tots stand at my local mall. This is one of many other wonderful organizations trying to make a difference and I encourage you to continue to reach out to them and the other local charities in your area as well. Tis the season!