The bane of Christmas for most of us is shopping for gifts. Those of us who are fortunate to have enough of what we need find ourselves filling somebody else’s closet with more stuff they don’t need. These “gifts” have the added liability of diminishing what little may be left in the pockets of those of us who are more resource challenged.
In the end, the pursuit of more stuff is empty. The feeling of gain is temporary and now we have something we are going to unload at a garage sale ten years from now.
So what is the answer in this season of giving? Well it is not to stop giving! It is to give what cannot be measured in the economy. It is your time and attention. Giving time to your elderly parents, a homebound relative, your children, or a lonely person whose family is dispersed dose not cost much, but it has high value.
There is a hierarchy in the art of personal giving. The best is when the person on the receiving end can hear and touch you. That is the personal visit. The next best thing is the telephone. On the telephone we can hear tone of voice. We can hear emotion and while that connection is incomplete it is so much better that the devices we are using to communicate. The “tweet” the email, and Facebook are all poor excuses for human contact.
And consider this, when you love someone, or when someone loves you, it is not because you are smart, or that they have given you an item they bought in a store. No, that feeling of warmth comes from time, humor and ideas that is shared between each of us.
Having said all that there are physical gifts that are important. If you can deliver a pantry full of food to a poor family and you can do it discreetly without embarrassing that family. I say get out your wallet and spend the money. However that may be difficult to do because if we live in a neighborhoods where we do not see those that live in obvious need.
The way to get to people in need is give money to respected agencies that see those in need. That would be a church or a food bank. My personal choices are Island Harvest and Long Island Cares, but there others. Seek them out and write a check. It will make you feel good.
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy New Year
Ernie Fazio & the LIMBA staff