The holidays push the thought of giving to the forefront. For one, requests for donations inundate the mail. Additionally, the media present varied opportunities to contribute to helping the disadvantaged and poor who, too, have the right to celebrate the holidays but have not the means to do so. Afloat is a remarkable effort, especially by non-profit organizations and church groups, to bring cheer to the needy who might find no cheer during the festive season or anytime of the year. Hard to ignore the pleas that attempt to stir compassion and action – give to help the poor.

There are too many of these requests; they make you feel bad that you can’t help them all, a friend said. No excuse, however, to do nothing. So, choose at least one, I responded. And I did just that. I chose the Salvation Army opportunity to feed scores of homeless or poor people to a hearty Thanksgiving meal. We get so engrossed in planning our Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends. Yet often we forget others cannot celebrate for varied reasons stemming from alienation or separation from the very means that otherwise would have enabled them to celebrate; the disenfranchised, the vulnerable, the needy. Many non-profits and church groups perform the admirable work of serving them, and we can be part of that noble effort. This is where giving comes in. Whatever we can share will go a long way.

Giving can come in various ways, besides material resources – in time, effort, thoughts, emotion, even love. Examples are devoting more attention to those we love and care for, volunteering for good causes, visiting the elderly, sick or lonely, sending notes or cards to bring cheer, or simply making a heartwarming phone call.

Give cheerfully and from the heart. Genuine giving expects no rewards, not even a thank you response. Unselfish giving is without pride. And that kind of giving flows from a noble and honorable heart. It is not rare that we discern generosity in a person’s character. But what we may rarely see is the humility of giving that thrives in anonymity. It is common human trait to desire recognition or gratitude for the good deed of giving. But let’s not allow our hang-ups about giving deter us from being generous. While giving can happen any time, any season, it is much needed around the holidays, when celebrations abound. Let’s give, to enable others to celebrate, too.

So, pick something in the mail, or respond to an ad on the screen – try to contribute toward someone’s hearty meal, a bus ride, a warm blanket, or a night indoors on a cold, frosty night – that’ll make you feel warm and joyful inside of you, knowing there’s someone else you brought cheer to, even in anonymity.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Linda P. Jacob