Today I was reading a friends blog about the theft in GR of the Angel Tree gifts from 2 places and I was reminded of an experience I had last year.
I was working at the tanning salon and we had a huge box for Toy for Tots. My little North Muskegon salon pretty much saw the same 13 clients every day. Only 1 client actually brought in gifts. So that left us employees to contribute to make it look better. An empty Toys for Tots box is pretty depressing.
I was talking to Summer about it, telling her about the kids in our town, maybe even in her school, that would not get much or anything for Christmas. We had $20. She thought it would be good to go to the dollar store because we could get SO much stuff for the empty box. So off we went, and she spent so much time agonizing over her picks. Imagining the kids who would love to get the Disney princess figurines or some Winnie the Pooh coloring books. It was a very sweet and humbling experience. I wish I had had more to give.
The next day I bring our gifts in and fill the bottom of the box. It feels good, ya know? A client I know well comes in and we are chit-chatting when she peeks in the box and scrunches her nose."Uggh! My girls would be so mad if they got those crappy gifts! What a bunch of junk." Can I just tell you that I should not have been surprised, BUT I WAS. How can someone be so, so...I don't even have words. I stumble around myself for a split second and mutter something about how kids with nothing would be very happy with almost anything. I instantly found myself embarrassed. Which then made me sad. I should have called her out on it! Wouldn't she feel like an idiot."Yeah, my 6 year old daughter picked those gifts out, so that she could bring a smile to the face of 20 kids and not just 1." But no. I was afraid of offending someone I had known since high school. Because I felt inferior. Because I was afraid of scaring off a potential sale. Which she NEVER did. It was a learning experience to say the least. I will never again be made to feel like that. We can all be proud of ANY amount of ANYTHING we can give. I wonder how much she gave last year? And I don't know about anyone else, but you could give my kids a toilet paper roll with googlie eyes and they would be happy. A little treat from the dollar store is a treasure! No preschooler should feel "above" a gift of any kind. But I guess thats in the way MOST people raise their children. To be appreciative. And honestly, most of us are 1 tragedy away from being in a situation when we may need to accept charity. I will be keeping that in mind this season. How anyone can make judgements on donations is beyond me.
This was just a "bonus" post today. So cheerful, huh?
Still on the December Daily, its just that its still early and not much has happened yet!