Pretty wrapping paper, a bow on the box and the curiosity of what could possibly be in the box, the reasons we love Christmas, our birthdays and all the other occasions that warrant us receiving a gift. “‘Tis the season for giving” as Christmas has been dubbed. It is true; it is the season for giving.
Opinion by Heather R
It all started when God sacrificed His only Son for us. He does not want us to pay Him back but to pay it forward.
Shopping for gifts for our loved ones is easy, we love them after all. What about the less fortunate that do not have people shopping for them, thinking about spoiling them?
A friend of mine challenged me this year, instead of celebrating her 29th birthday at the end of the year, she would like to do 29 good deeds for the less fortunate.
She says she is tired of receiving gifts and would like to give as a sign of gratitude to God, for her making it thus far, alive and in good health.
She intends on rallying some friends and doing it with them. Although her birthday comes after Christmas, what she intends on doing will touch the lives of many and make a difference.
Who should give?
You! It may seem as though what you have to give is insignificant to be given in isolation. What you can do is give through an institution that takes care of the underprivileged within our society.
Churches, schools, children’s homes and so forth or you could band together with your family, friends and colleagues and put what you have together and find someone to bless this season.
Ideas of what to give to the underprivileged
Clothes and shoes; buy someone something brand new or you can begin your 2013 wardrobe detox early and bring out the clothes that you are no longer “hot” for. Please donate something you wouldn’t mind wearing.
The less fortunate are not a dustbin for us to dump our rags in. If you would not wear it because it is in bad shape, the dustbin may appreciate it better. Do the same with your shoes, make sure they still have soles and are hole-free.
- Foodstuffs and other groceries; everyone needs to eat, so grab a couple of tins of food, sugar, salt, candles, matches, laundry soap, bath soap and anything else you think would make someone’s day. You can also offer to buy school supplies or donate blankets as well.
- Time; visit the less fortunate, run errands for them. Some of the elderly are lonely and just miss conversing with another grown-up. Some children enjoy the one-on-one attention they receive from guests because their matrons can be too overwhelmed with the business of running the home that they are not able to give each child as much attention as they would desire. You could also do something for the matrons because people tend to give the children and forget about their caregivers.
- Other; money to maintain the institutions, to pay school fees, to pay the staff, to buy bedding and take care of the other financial needs of the different households, communities and institutions. You can find out what they need and meet them at that point.
How to select intended recipients of goodwill
Firstly, decide on whom you would like to give to. There are so many impoverished communities in Zimbabwe, all you need to do is look around or ask around.
Due to the HIV and Aids pandemic, a lot of children have lost parents to the disease and are finding themselves heading households at young ages.
Some of the children live with their grandparents who relied on the children’s parents’ income but now, with the bread winners dead, are unable to significantly fend for these orphans.
There are also the widows and widowers whose children have died or have migrated in search of greener pastures. They do not visit often, leaving their elderly parents to provide for themselves.
Some of the elderly may be ill and in need of medication or healthcare. There are orphanages, homes for the disabled or elderly that you could visit. There are also shelters that cater for street kids, the homeless and abused women who could use some aid.
Keep your eyes open, it may even be your neighbour, your gardener or anyone, anywhere. Even animals deserve some love, so also approach animal shelters.
Don’t let the spirit of giving pass you by. Everyone could use some love. Love someone. Make someone’s day, week or month.
Origins of Christmas gifts
“Christmas Gift” is an expression traced back as early as 1844 in the southern United States. It is derived from the tradition of saying “Christmas Gift!” among typically poor African American and Anglo farming families in rural areas, when people would wake on Christmas morning and rush to say “Christmas Gift!” before anyone else.
The person being told “Christmas Gift!” is expected to present the person saying it to them with a present. In addition, while “Merry Christmas” is the common and current seasonal salutation, “Christmas Gift” was an equivalent expression used in the rural south and also in southern Pennsylvania, Ohio Valley, West Virginia, and later in north-eastern Texas as a simple greeting and recognising the birth of Christ as a gift.
A gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of payment. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free.
In many human societies, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods, etc may contribute to social cohesion. Economists have elaborated the economics of gift-giving into the notion of a gift economy. By extension the term gift can refer to anything that makes the other happier or less sad, especially as a favour, including forgiveness and kindness.—Wikipedia