The giving part of Christmas

30 November 2012

Christmas is a bit of Things Explosion.

I’m not going to get all minimalist ‘let’s jet off to India for six weeks and just bring a carry-on bag between four people’. It’s not even ‘smash the state, man, they just want us to buy things to support their dirty corporate agenda to make us all into barcoded lemmings’. Though sometimes I feel like there’s a grain of truth to that.

Maybe it’s that I’ve moved across a very large continent quite a few times in my life, and back and forth across a rather big ocean as well. The amount of times I’ve stood outside my house or apartment building, convincing strangers to take my perfectly good things because I didn’t want to haul them thousands of kilometers, well, it makes you think differently about stuff for stuff’s sake. If you looked at my flat right now, you may not get that impression, however. *sweeps week-old grocery flyers and a lonely sock under the couch*.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading about the Second World War in England, and the gifts they gave each other at Christmas were so heartbreakingly practical yet hard to get hold of. Makes one’s desperate search for $50 stocking stuffers seem a bit ridiculous.

I would love Elliot to feel that the giving part of Christmas is at least as important as the getting. I know that’s a tall order, but as he’s three right now, it’s a good time to start.

Recently, my husband sat down with him and cleaned out his closet full of old toys. They made piles of what to keep and what to give away to other children who would like some new toys. Elliot was remarkably fine with making a giant pile of his toys to donate, especially when he knew other children would play with them. I would like to do this in the run-up to Christmas every year, to remind him that there are other children who don’t have the things he has, but also that sharing our good fortune is an important part of living a community.

This year, we donated our toys to Baby Go Round, which distributes gently used gear to  local families in need.

This post is part of a larger story from Vancouver mom bloggers, do visit the blogs featured earlier in this series …

Photo above is Leadenhall Market in London, it was a half-hour walk from our first flat, and it was lovely at Christmas. All Victorian over-abundance of everything. There has been a market on the site of some sort or another since the 14th century. Also, the cobblestones in there are brutal in heels after three large glasses of wine, just so you know. 

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8 Comments

  1. Reply

    Ken

    I know that I’m notoriously difficult to buy for, but I just don’t want a lot of stuff.

    1. Reply

      erinehm

      I think your suggestion of a really good bottle of wine to drink together at some point is lovely!

  2. Reply

    Amy @ The Connection We Share

    This is a great tradition, Erin! Just wondering, when I donation to Baby Go Round, do I drop it off at the address on the website?

    1. Reply

      Nicole T

      Hi Amy — thank you for considering BabyGoRound for donations! We are accepting donations at the store location but we are only open from 10-2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We cannot take any clothing items right now and our largest needs in the leadup to Christmas are cribs, infant car seats, strollers, high chairs, bassinets, and other practicle baby gear. Toys are also appreciated as many families are looking for gifts for their children for Christmas.

  3. Reply

    Loreen

    I’ve been so impressed with Elliot’s kindness and generosity several times. I remember being at the park with him and Chris and another little boy was enviously watching Elliot ride his bike. The boy spoke little English, and Elliot gestured the bike toward him with a questioning look. While the boy was excitedly riding around the small park, Elliot watched him with obvious pleasure. It was lovely to see his warm nature!

  4. Reply

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