Since I live in the Midwest, which means Holiday Time is
cold COLD. Many places collect “gently used” or new coats for the less fortunate. This is a great way to help out, and easy too. Just drop the coat in a collection box.
Another way to keep people warm is help with electrical or heating bills. This year I discovered that I can give utility gift certificates. I like this idea because it ear-marks the money for a specific purpose.
Years ago, I received an anonymous gift of cash to help me through the holidays. As welcomed as the help was, it came with its own stressers. Did the gifter intend that I use it for essentials? Did they want me to buy gifts for the kids? Should I use the cash for something frivolous, like toys, or clothes? I worried that I might spend the money in a way that made the gifter regret their generosity.
I volunteered to interview needy families for my church’s giving tree. Invariably, the process embarrasses the gift recipients. Even the children were reluctant to dream for more than a coloring book and a box of crayons.
Here’s one way I play St. Nicholas to a needy family. All I need is a telephone number to pay a friend-in-need’s utility bill. I call the utility pay-by-phone number and pay the bill with my credit card. I set up a reminder on my calendar, and repeat.
I like being a very Secret Santa. No one needs to feel beholden or embarrassed or even say thank-you.