The Monthly Project: Gift of Giving

Over at Sisterhood they have a Monthly Project – something to help us all feel better about ourselves, treat ourselves better, or set ourselves up for success in our goals of getting healthier. The month, though, it’s about looking outward – December’s Monthly Project is about Giving Back.

I’m happy to say that I’ve got this one in the bag. December has always been a time when I looked to others. Since sometime in Junior High school, I’ve loved giving gifts to other people more than receiving. I pride myself on being able to pick out that perfect gift. My desire to give to those I didn’t know started in High School when my Mom and I contributed gifts to the Angel Tree project a few years in a row. Angel Tree supports kids who have a parent in jail and may not otherwise get gifts for Christmas.

For the past 14 years I have given a Toys for Tots gift in honor of my nephew who died before he saw his first Christmas. Each year I give a toy appropriate for the age he would have been that year. Now that he would have been 15 in January, I suspect that’s getting outside the age range for TfT. I’m struggling with what to do to honor him in the coming years. (I’m not embarrassed to say that delivering the toy each year still makes me cry…in fact, writing about it here is making me cry, too.)

I know the economy is tough, and we all feel the pinch. But I was able to make a donation through my grad school years, so I think most people can come up with *something* to do for someone less fortunate. One year I thought I’d have to forgo my TfT donation because things were so tight, but when I received some unexpected money, it was the first thing I bought (plus a stupid plastic table cloth in what I’ve come to call The Target Incident).

I’m happy to say that my husband and I are doing fairly well in this economy, so we’ve been in the position to donate to charities regularly. Above and beyond our monthly donations for December, I’ve also made a donation to a Donors Choose project and helped with a microloan through Kiva. These are charities where even $5 can help.

If even $5 is too much for you this year (and believe me, I know about $5 being too much to pull out of a budget – read The Target Incident if you don’t believe me), maybe find some gently used things to donate to Goodwill or the Salvation Army – Christmas is probably a busy time for them as well. Or find a way to donate some time. Heck, just shovel a elderly or sick neighbor’s sidewalk or rake up their leaves. It doesn’t have to cost anything to help out.


  1. Brooke said,

    December 7, 2010 @ 1:33 pm

    Of course writing about your nephew made you cry – it made me cry just reading it. *hugs*

    And its weird, but I actually feel guilt that my husband and I are doing well in this economy. Its all a product of his hard work, but I know that hard work isn’t always enough.

  2. Tweets that mention » The Monthly Project: Gift of Giving A Jiggly Chick Loses Weight -- said,

    December 7, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kirsten, Barb. Barb said: This month's project through @shrinkingjeans is about giving to others…read my 2-cents: (blog post) […]

  3. The Monthly Project: The Final Week | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans said,

    December 28, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

    […] of you have also made some wonderful suggestions like: Barb, who donated to Toys for Tots, the Angel Tree Project and a website called […]

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