Monday, November 25, 2013

Sue me, I'm Not An Angel Tree Person

Act #329:  Look closer.

Every year, right about this time, we flock to our local retailer to get first dibs on an angel tree cut-out angel so that we can choose the "perfect" child to grant a "perfect" Christmas.   We stuff shoeboxes full of school supplies and toys and send them halfway across the world.  We drop off our pre-wrapped new toys at the fire station for tots across the country.  If we were to solely look at the months of November and December, and we were to solely look at non-profits that serve children, we are an extraordinarily generous nation.  And that's wonderful.  And it's such an honorable and worthy cause to bring dolls and video games and play dough sets to young souls who might not otherwise get to experience the "joy" of the holiday season.  I get it.  But one year I remember overhearing someone standing at the Wal-Mart Angel Tree pretty late in December saying, "Damn, all the good ones are gone!" and I couldn't help but wonder, what actually made a gift recipient more worthy or desirable than others?  Why is it that we are so judgey about what shows up on the angel tree list? Are our angel cut-outs, decorated shoe boxes, and pre-wrapped toys merely  ways for us to satisfy our own mental do-good check-off lists during the holidays?  So that we can go about planning our $200 Christmas meals with three different pies and 8 different side dishes and proceed on with our Amazon Prime and Black Friday shopping? 

Here's something for all of us to ponder: people of all ages are suffering loss and pain and sorrow in November and December.....and January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October too.  People closer to you than you might think.  I'm reminded of a friend who was laid off from her job six months ago and is having a hard time finding something, despite the number of applications and resumes she has sent out.  For her birthday this year, two of her good friends didn't treat her to a fancy meal, didn't buy her a new scarf for her scarf collection.  Instead, one day, they pulled up their car parallel to hers and transferred an entire trunk full of her favorite grocery foods into hers. 

So if the pickins' on the angel tree this year are already slim, have no fear - chances are, there are plenty of cut-out angels right in your own social circle.  Right this very moment there is a family member, a friend, a church-goer, a colleague, or a neighbor who might need a little extra love.  Go ahead, reach out to them.  I promise, it'll be well worth the tax write-off that you'll be giving up.


1 comment:

  1. Lexington Rescue Mission tries to connect holiday givers with needs our guests have during the holidays. Most of the time that need isn't toys for the kids, but items that help them get their lives back on track. It may not be someone you know, but it will meet the need of someone in the community.