In the past few years the microeconomy that’s my household – like those of millions of other Americans – has taken a beating.
Relocation and job changes mean I’m earning considerably less than before. Most days I don’t mind: with the unemployment rate for journalists hovering around 7 percent, I’m just happy to be working.
But then there are those days when I start missing being able to buy my “big girl” toys, like the designer handbags and shoes that used to fill my closet, or heading off on some fabulous trip.
Visiting an area store had me kinda feeling sorry for myself the other day, but then a scrap of paper provided a much-needed reality check.
While waiting for my mother I happened to glance at one of those Angel Tree tags. This one was for a young boy needing socks and underwear for Christmas.
Wow. Not the hottest toy of the season, or the coolest video game. Just basic clothing that I take for granted, and never once in my whole spoiled-rotten upbringing ever found under the Christmas tree.
When I think of Christmas mornings from my childhood, I remember running downstairs to find what looked like mountains of toys. Dolls galore, stuffed animals, a child-sized kitchen, and even an electronic organ were some of the things I ripped wrapping paper from over the years.
I’m sure there was clothing under the tree at some point, but I’m equally sure it was a lot more frivolous than underwear and socks. Those were foregone conclusions to be in the dresser drawers, just like there would be enough food in the pantry and the heat and lights would be on in the house.
I was lucky. But so many kids – so many families in this area -- aren’t.
There are several fine organizations raising money and soliciting items to help bring a little holiday cheer to Grayson County’s needy. The ministerial association comes to mind, as does Sunday’s fundraiser at Farmer’s Feed Mill, next weekend’s Toys for Tots benefit concert, the volunteers ringing the bells at Salvation Army kettles, the utilities’ donation programs and the Angel Trees.
My family is forgoing presents this year, donating that money instead to charity. On my part it’s a smaller donation than I could have made a few years ago, but it’s atonement for the purse addiction just the same.
Mohandas Gandhi said it best: “Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow men.”
So my challenge to Grayson Countians is to strive this holiday season to become great. Put judgment and blame aside, and instead open your hearts and wallets. Try to help, even if all you can spare is a dollar in a donation kettle. If you truly can’t spare the money, offer your time.
Your fellow men will thank you.