Christmas is behind us and New Year’s will be here in a few days. Looking at our tree, it looks so sad with all the presents gone. I love looking at the lights, especially at night if we have a fire going in the fireplace, but we haven’t really been cold enough for a fire lately. We didn’t have any snow for Christmas this year and that has been the case since we moved to Maryland. Snow seems to come in little bits until February. That’s when we get a lot…should I mention last year and the 3 feet plus snow storm that we got in one day?
Our pug only managed to get one present out from under the tree. He somehow managed to sniff out one of his new squeaky toys from among all the wrapped gifts. It was cute to watch him stretch his little body under the tree. He kept his back feet on the carpet and used his front paws to bat the package closed and then he tugged the string holding it together. After all of that effort, my husband and I let him have his toy. There is something so precious when a dog gets a new squeaky toy. He is just so exited and happy. He wore himself out playing with it. I was worried he would try to find his other gifts, so we moved them up higher.
My husband also gave me one of the best gifts. It is a hook that attaches to the headrest of a vehicle. It holds my purse and that means it doesn’t get tossed around the backseat of the car when we are together. It also means that I don’t put it on the floorboard when it is wet. I can hook it behind the seat, his if he is driving, and I can reach for my phone or wallet. I never knew I needed it, but now that I have it, I wished I had it sooner.
Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!!!
Every once in a while you come across something on the web that touches your heart. Recently I learned about Love Your Melon, which is an organization that provides children with cancer with hats to keep their heads warm. The organization was started several years ago by two college students from Minnesota. The website sells items with the Love Your Melon logo, such as knit caps, scarfs, baseball caps, t-shirts and coffee mugs. When you purchase an item, you are donating money to provide hats to children. The hats are then presented to the children by Super Heroes, which are usually local college students in full costumes. The children have a blast and so do the heroes that deliver the hats. If you know of a child that is undergoing cancer treatment, you can request a hat for them from the site as well.
If you get a chance, stop by the website to see pictures of hats being presented to children around the country. You can also see what else the organization is doing for the children. They also donate a portion of each item purchased to the Pinky Swear Foundation and Cure Search for Children’s Cancer. When you purchase an item, it asks you to select the crew that you would like to receive your donation. There are crews around the country, so chances are you can find one near you. Items on the site sell out quickly, so you may see a countdown display to let you know when the next batch of items will be released. Spread the word and tell your friends to “Love Your Melon.”
It’s that time of the year when we will be faced with co-workers that insist on giving gifts and others feeling forced into accepting them, but then what? Is there an obligation to now return a gift with a gift? Or should we be able to gracefully decline the gift? And if we do, should the gift giver have the right to be offended or even angry?
I work in an office with people of many different backgrounds and financial obligations, so knowing what is acceptable when in comes to giving holiday gifts is unclear. To make it simple, my manager puts the offer out for a gift exchange, but leaves it up to the individual if they want to participate or not. If you do, there is often a limit on the dollar amount to be spent, usually $20. Now, of course, you will always have the person who spends way above the dollar amount, as well as those who spend very little, and feelings, both good and bad, always come into play. It is for that reason that I do not take part. It truly never ends well.
People never really accept your decision not to take part. It is not unusual to come into work and find a gift left on your desk from a co-worker. Does that now make you obligated to give them a gift in return? I don’t think it should. I mean, I didn’t ask for a gift and didn’t sign up to take part in the gift exchange, so why should someone go against my wishes and leave a gift? It may not seem like a lot, but if 20 people in your office do this, it can be pricey to return the favor. Many people do not have the money and this now places a burden on them financially that they didn’t ask for. Is this fair to do this to someone?
As I mentioned earlier, it also never ends well. If you decide not to give a gift back, there are always hurt feelings. In any office, little comments will get back to the person not giving out gifts that they “weren’t appreciative” or “were thoughtless of the feelings of others.” It’s that last one that I have a real problem with. How is it thoughtless of others feelings when you don’t give a gift back, but the other person didn’t care about the feelings of those that didn’t want to take part? Why do the feelings of one outweigh the feelings of the other? And what about the gift? Is it okay to give it away to someone else? I usually take the gift and drop it off in a gift donation box somewhere. Or give it to a co-worker who is truly struggling. I don’t make a big deal out of it because I don’t want anyone to feel bad, but someone will end up hurt. I just wish that we weren’t put in these situations to begin with. I’ve heard of offices that have banned gift giving all together and I applaud them for doing it. Now if only my office would do the same.
It is that time of the year again. How to give back during the holiday is a question that many of us are trying to figure out. We never really have enough time to do our everyday things and then we are being asked to volunteer or donate our time to an an organization that needs help. One way is to contact your local hospice or nursing home and ask them how you can help the residents during the holidays.
The first thing that comes to mind is volunteering to serve a meal. Some places may turn down an offer to do this because many of the residents are on very strict diets and are not able to eat the same things. But many of the residents have very limited incomes. Usually, if they have Medicare, nearly all of their monthly check is paid directly to the nursing home. They are usually allowed to keep a small amount, maybe $25-35 dollars for toiletries and special things. Many hospices and nursing homes have “Wish Lists” on their websites. One item that might be listed is to pay for a day in hospice, which can run upwards of $200 a day, but other things on the lists are for personal care items, such as shampoo, body wash, shaving cream, disposable razors and toothpaste, etc. Many of us probably have a drawer full of things that we haven’t even used yet. Or extra toothbrushes from our last few dental appointments. Other items often requested are small blankets or throws. At this time of year, a throw can easily be found for a few dollars.
You can easily organize a hospice or nursing home drive at work. Decorate a box or basket and leave a list of what things are needed. At my job, we hung holiday tags along the window sill in the employee break room with items that are on the wish list for our local hospice. Employees that wish to participate take one or more tags and bring the items that they have selected and drop them off into the basket, similar to the Angel Trees that are found in the mall or area stores. It doesn’t take much to fill up a box, but it means so much to the organization and the residents who will benefit from your kindness.
Whatever you can do will go along way towards making someone’s holiday just a little bit brighter.