Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Brings Comfort and Joy in My Life: Bell Ringers #ShareKleenex

As Christmas approaches, my mind immediately turns toward charity and giving.  Christmas is supposed to be a magical time of year, but for many families, it isn't.  It breaks my heart to think of kids with nothing beneath the tree.  I will share with you a story that has stuck with me through the years,

Growing up, I remember Christmas shopping with my parents at a local department store.  Stationed outside were the bell ringers.  They were everywhere, it seemed, ringing their bell, asking for donations and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas happily, no matter if they shoved a dollar or a nickel in the slot.

We weren't poor, but we weren't rich either.  Money was often tight and my parents always had to carefully budget for large expenses, Christmas included.  I remember one year asking my mom why she put money in the big red pot.  She told me that if it weren't for a nice lady at the Salvation Army, she wouldn't have had a Christmas one year.  She remembers them bringing her family things for Christmas, which for her included a pair of slacks.  Her dad was an alcoholic and drank away the money, leaving her and her brothers and sisters with virtually no money for food or presents.

After that day, I don't pass by the big red pot without tossing in some change or bills, whatever I have on me.  I give money to my kids to put in the Salvation Army kettle too.  I know that donations make a difference in someone's life.  I give what I can and take Angels off the Angel Tree at church because I don't want a child to ever feel the way my mother did when she was little.  I want to be that lady who showed up at Christmas with clothes and toys and food for a family in need.

What brings comfort and joy in my life?  Knowing that I can make a difference by taking the time out of the hustle and bustle of the holidays to be thankful for the many blessings that I have.  Remembering that there are those less fortunate than me who, like my mom so many years ago, wonder if they will receive a gift for Christmas or not.  I hope that by giving of myself that others will have their faith restored.

Did I make your eyes water?  I hope that you were touched by my mom's story.  I could use a Kleenex myself!  Please visit Kleenex's Softness Worth Sharing website at http://kleenex.com/softnessworthsharing and send a free pack to someone you love.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Kleenex blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.
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