Jumpstarting the holiday season

Published 6:17 pm Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just about the same time of year that you see Christmas decorations on shelves is the same time of year we start to write about area fundraisers.

It seems that every few days, I’m writing a story on another fundraiser.

Just this week I’ve written about Toys for Tots, ForKids’ Thanksgiving dinner and holiday toy drives and a Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters fundraiser.

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I know when I start hearing about Christmas before Thanksgiving has even arrived, I roll my eyes a bit and mutter something about a marketing ploy.

I don’t buy into the holiday spirit until it’s upon me. It’s when the decorations are up, the weather is cold and it’s less than two weeks before Dec. 25. Santa is practically halfway down the chimney by the time I break out my elf ears.

Consequently, in years past, I haven’t thought about buying toys for Toys for Tots or giving to other holiday funds until I’m in the mood.

If you think about it, though, that’s a rather selfish way to think about giving.

Is giving on our own time — not when they need it — really the act of unselfishly giving to those in need? That’s the questions I’ve been faced with this holiday season.

As I’ve been working with local non-profit and charity organizations, I’ve come to understand that a lot of other people are like me. People don’t donate to organizations until it’s closer to the holidays, but distributions usually occur toward the beginning of December.

For example, Toys for Tots and ForKids both distribute toys in the first few weeks of December so that their families can prepare and celebrate Christmas on time.

Of course, charity organizations will accept donations even after their cut-off date, and there are never enough toys to go around.

But, it seems to me that if we truly want to do the greatest amount of good, we need to get into the spirit early. It’s not about marketing or sales — it’s about helping bring Christmas to those who need help, and in most cases that takes a little bit of time to make that happen.

This year, it will be my goal to plan my giving in advance. It very well may be the jump-start I need to get into the holiday spirit a little earlier this year.