My mom gave Collin a pair of snow boots for his first Christmas with our family. He opened the package and hugged the boots! Then he put them on elated and content. Of course, not thinking of or looking for the many other packages under the tree with his name on them. Meanwhile the other cousins were opening and discarding package after package. That was one of the many lessons in gratitude that Collin has taught our family. He still carries this innate gratitude with him today, always showing unconditional appreciation and love to us.
Have I tugged on your heart strings enough? Consider giving to a charity for those less fortunate. If you would like to learn more about how to help the children in Romania I encourage you to visit http://www.bridgeoflove.net/ This is a foundation to help Orphans in Romania. My sister personally knows the people who run this foundation. So be comforted knowing that your money truly does reach your chosen child. Often we think of little ones, but there are so many teenagers that need help too! So, so many.
A few years ago we decided among some good friends of ours to sponsor a child through a charity rather than give each other gifts. We've been doing this for 3 years now. It's amazing how much we've been able to help another with our money and at the same time relieve some of the holiday giving stress.
This year my husband's family has decided to do the same thing. Rather than buying gifts for each other, we're taking the money we would have spent on each other and donating to a crisis nursery in Arizona where my sister-in-law works. I've found that this has started some great conversations of gratitude in the family, and again, I don't have to waste hours wondering among items produced in China figuring out which one to purchase for them.
In this time, when people are talking recession and how hard things have been it's a great reality check. Sure money is more tight than in the past, but I never have to think about how I'm going to put food on the table or figure out how to get through the winter with out shoes! Next time your in a big department store trying to figure out what to buy those on your list that don't need anything, consider this option. There are so many in need locally and globally.
If this doesn't quite speak to you then give of your time.