Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Generosity Project

We went on a 14 hour car drive last week to take the kiddos up to see my folks for Thanksgiving. It was nice. I haven't been "home" for the holidays for 10 years. While I was waiting to get one of the best sandwiches ever in the poe-dunk town I grew up in I noticed a little giving tree overflowing with needs. I started looking at them and noticed how many of the children needed all the necessities--socks, underwear, shoes, boots (it is a pretty harsh climate), coat, shirt, pants, and some listed a single toy.

I remember going to school with kids who wore the same outfit every single day--and they smelled like it too. We drove around and noticed the houses or mere shacks that were often missing windows, had dilapidated roofs and may or may not have had running water and electricity. We also noticed a few toys and realized their were kids living inside.

As I was looking through the ads before Black Friday I noticed some things that were great deals that I wanted and was starting to put these items on my mental wish list. I started to feel guilty as I thought about all of the kids in this one community who would probably go without. There were so many names on that one tree and I found out all of the names aren't taken every year. How would that feel to be left out? Forgotten? Cold?

I was talking with some people and they said they wished they could do more to help these kids but they couldn't and I didn't say this out loud but I am now, "Why can't you do more?"

Since we left, I've been thinking more and more about what we can do without this Christmas and throughout the year so that we will have more to give. What good is it to be celebrating our Savior's birth around a cozy fire and nice things when a child is sitting in the cold probably counting down the days till they are back in school with a school lunch in their belly?

This Christmas season I'm going to forgo the little extras, the little niceties that really just waste money and take up more time. I'm going to bake a few less of our traditional treats and spend that time reading stories to my kids and playing ponies with them. I'm going to wish the people I forgot to get gifts for (happens every year) a Merry Christmas via text or a phone call instead of rushing out and getting a guilty gift and seeing too many great deals and purchasing those too. Next year I'm going to look for deals on clothing to buy for these kids so my money can go farther. I'm not going to give as much in my comfortable, affluent suburbia community where the wish lists hardly ever list clothes but several toys. Instead I'm going to look further for those who need it most.

We already cut back a lot in our family the last few years. Our kids just get 3 gifts--symbolic of the Savior receiving 3 gifts from the wise men. Next year I am going to find ways to cut back even more throughout the year on everything. Each purchase I make will have a heavier weight--do I really need this or can I use my money instead to help a child?

So the question is "Who's with me?"

If you want to join me in this Generosity Project then please feel free to comment what you and/or your family will do without so you are better able to give to those in your own communities. Feel free to be anonymous if you wish. Come back often. I hope this helps you to have greater peace and happiness in your life to live with a little less and give even more.



  1. I have to say that I am surprised and sad that there have been no comments on this post :(
    Though I do not have any specific plan on what it is that will be cut at this time (I've just read the post), I would like to thank you for what you've shared.
    And that there will be cuts in our house to help those more in need is certain.
    Thanks again for putting the call out...I will answer :)

    1. I was sad no one else commented either. We gave up several things this past Christmas to make room for more to give. I really have to say it was the best Christmas ever. We enjoyed more of the true meaning of Christmas. We tried to give more than we received. We received some anonymous gifts on our door which upped the anti but I think we ended up about even. :) We are already making lists of how we are going to try to bless others this year and it is pretty exciting. You don't have to do much to make someone else's day. Thank you for commenting and hopefully others will pay our efforts forward.