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Here are some ideas on how the more fortunate can help someone for Christmas. It doesn't have to break your budget. It can fill your world with the most incredible feeling and gives back or pays forward, however you might believe. Some of us have money but not a lot of time, so donate generously to a Christmas Charity.
Where I live, the firemen collect and distribute good used toys to needy families. Most county social services have programs to help with Christmas. But if you would like to get more personally involved in helping a family, here is what you can do. First off, you can invite a family to your own celebration. A few gifts of things they really need can be a godsend. A check for part of their utilites might be a great gift for the parents. Ask around for gently used toys for the kids with your friends and family. Make it a family thing. You will be surprised at how many want to help you make a great Christmas for someone else.
If you can't do that, why not try this. When you buy your thanksgiving turkey, buy an extra one for a needy family this Christmas. Buy an extra chicken or a couple of Cornish game hens, which will be on sale also. Between now and Christmas, if you were to pick up just one extra can of something for a Christmas dinner, by Christmas, you would have one heck of a spread. This can be donated to any shelter or social service program or to a family that you know. If you don't know a family that needs help, call your local social services and they should be able through a social worker to get you a family to help.
Now on to the best part for children, the tree and presents. Some of you will be replacing your Christmas tree this year. Instead of sending it off to the Goodwill, why not take it and any decorations that you are not going to use and put them aside to give to someone who will not have a tree. Throw a decoration party with your friends to make or get more decorations for the tree. Any gently used game or book is a great gift for a child. These can be picked up cheaply now at your local thrift store. Our Goodwill sells games for a dollar apiece and most game companies give away replacement parts for free or for a small charge.
If you start now, you could be a Santa to more than one child. Stuffed animals are also really a bargain at the thrift store where you also can buy large bags of small toys to stuff stockings with. You can buy stockings at the local dollar store or recycle ones you may already have. Extra pencils and school supplies are great for in their stockings and may be something you already have. Think about cold weather and if "your kids" have enough cold weather gear. Practical and useful and most needed.
Don't forget your elderly folks too. A small shoe box with things such as winter gloves, a scarf or shawl, personal hygiene items, a new coffee mug and some instant coffee, tea or hot chocolate makes a nice gift. Throw in a book or some magazines and wrap it all up and you have a wonderful, low cost to you but big benefit to them, gift.
In the end, we, the people are the most caring and generous people on this earth no matter our race, religion or credo. You can make a difference in this world, one day at a time.
By Debra Frick from Colorado Springs, CO
Editor's Note: ThriftyFun doesn't have any funds to help people in need or any resources to help them find the people who can help. Please DO NOT post your requests for help here, they will be deleted. Look for help in your local area. There are many posts on ThriftyFun about finding help and having a good holiday without a lot of money.
Debra, you have some great ideas! And, you are right, it is an incredible feeling to help someone else out. We have mitten trees in our town that you can donate hats, scarfs, and mittens to the area children.
The local Lions club always sponsors a toys program, I just love shopping for toys for children! The sad part is, in my area, is that families can only apply for food baskets if they are already receiving from the human services department. There are a lot of families out there that are not on any state assistance, but are just struggling along day to day and need help.
I agree with you about helping out with paying part of the utilities, that would be a very welcomed gift; or, maybe a grocery store gift certificate. Even if you can't do anything like that, baking some cookies would be very thoughtful. You have inspired me, Debra, thank you.