A different kind of Christmas list

I have a few shiny, cool things to share, Oprah-style, in a post of my “favorite things to buy for Christmas” this year.

But before I do that, I wanted to share another kind of Christmas list. All of us get very stressed out at this time of year, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in what’s happening in your world.

But it’s important to remember that other people need our help – whether it’s money, time or just to hear from us and stay connected. And I don’t know about you, but I love to give gifts. The old saying that it’s better to give than to receive is very true – it’s a great feeling to share and it’s even better to surprise someone!

  • Staying in touch is what the program Let’s Say Thanks offers. It’s a program coordinated by Xerox, and it allows the user to send a greeting card to active duty troops that are stationed overseas. Regardless of your opinion of our military actions or your political convictions, we can all agree that these people do great work and make great sacrifices, and a simple thank you that takes only a few minutes to create is a great way to do it.
  • Here in Chicago, we’re seeing the ripple effect of our economic crisis hit the suburbs. The Chicago Tribune reported on how homelessness is impacting the suburbs in a way it rarely has before. There’s an organization, Journey from PADS to HOPE, that’s providing assistance for suburban Cook County. Check out their site, including ways to donate, here.
  • In the city, there’s an organization, 2 Li’l Fishes, that provides meals for the Uptown neighborhood. Uptown is a neighborhood that’s been struggling for years, with intense joblessness and a lack of affordable housing. These folks do great work and I’m happy to support them. For more information, click here.
  • And sometimes, it’s the smallest among us who need help. There are millions of homeless cats and dogs and hundreds of great organizations that help them find new homes. Here in Chicago, I support the Anti-Cruelty Society. There’s also the Humane Society of the United States.

Where do you share your gifts of time, talent or money? Any suggestions or additions to the list?

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