Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Last Vent of the Pre-Holiday Season

Ever feel like a warm wallet?  Ever get your back up when every where you go someone is asking you for more and more money?  For my husband and I it seems the last few holidays have been brutal for this.  Now my husband works for Sick Kids Foundation and sees where the money goes.  Not a day goes by when he hasn't seen a biography of a very sick child and his/her resume of treatments and surgeries (though they have these long necklaces of beads, each representing some sort of treatment/surgery).

Always reminded of the many hardships their family's have endured to find help for their children.  It weighs on him heavily and on me in return.  We've never begrudged a dime of the money we donate to that cause and always wish we could do more. 

Then there are the 5 million other causes that ask, and ask, and ask, all year long.  Programs all very, very worthy and so vastly under funded that their only real sources of income come from charitable giving.  Then there are schools fund raising events, churches, and after school activities.  It never ends.  Really, it never ends!  Of course I run the risk of people hating me for even putting this in print.  I am an adult and can say no to a cause when it comes to extra giving.  Everyone is entitled to their limit.  But everyone has a limit to how much their beating heart can be twisted.

There are those special charities like Harvest, Adopt-a-family, and any other where the goods actually get put right into the hands of the people who need it, with the fewest people in between.  These are the ones I target the most.  I never actually need to see them to know that "there by the grace of God, go I".  I just happen to be the lucky one that gets to give instead of it being the other way around.

I have been blue all day thinking of the young girl who will be the recipient of one of the charitable projects that E's class is doing this year.  Yes, a homeless girl.  Can you imagine such a thing?  Sadly, I can.  I lived in a city center where I got to see lots of that.  It was heart breaking.  I spent the morning shopping with my youngest, for this particular girl.  I intend to go back and pick up the rest of the list that doesn't get picked out by the other classmate's parents.  It's the very least I can do because I can't rush in and save her.

The final slap was an email circulated today for a donation to a gift for an after school activity instructor whom I will not name nor give hint to what activity (He is very well paid I should add before I'm BBQ'd).  The email suggested that the gift was in the hundreds.  Really?  All I could think was, Wow! That's extravagant given that though he is a great instructor, such an expensive gift seems ill placed.  Then there was the question as to motive.  Why such an expensive gift? Do people really expect such elaborate things?  Likely not.  Then why? What is this person getting out of arranging such a ridiculous display?  And there it is....the ugly side of Holiday Stress.

Have I turned into a Grinch?  Have I become a judgy-judgerson?  Or is this just a symptom of being stung by the needs of the world and the guilt that comes from living in a materialistic world?  There are days when I want to shrug it all off and go live in the mountains.  Today is one of those days.

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