Each year it seems more difficult to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday without the commercial side of Christmas pushing ahead in line. The “after Thanksgiving” sales turned into “before Thanksgiving” sales this year, which meant the advertising started even earlier. On November 1, the Halloween merchandise had been replaced by Christmas merchandise. We even received our first Christmas card in the mail on the day before Thanksgiving. I guess it’s the one ounce of rebellious nature in me that refuses to do any Christmas shopping until December 1. There is only one exception to this rule: charity shopping. Each year my two sisters and I participate in a program run by a local charity that matches us up with an underprivileged child in the Philadelphia area. We never meet the child but receive information such as their age, clothing size, favorite color/character/theme, and any particular needs and wants (a winter coat and a baby doll for our 3 year old girl). The idea is to make Christmas wishes come true for one child instead of just donating money and hoping it will help someone, somewhere. The assignments are given out in early November, and the gifts are due back to the charity during the first week of December. Each year, my daughter and I set aside a day to do the shopping for our “Christmas kid”, and each year she seems to enjoy and understand the concept more. She told me she will definitely participate in the program when she is old enough to have her own “Christmas kid”. But she also felt slightly guilty about impersonating Santa, though she felt he would understand. After all, these children wouldn’t be getting all those extra presents from their parents and relatives, so we have to make it look like Santa is giving them even more.
As I pulled up to the drop-off location on Monday afternoon, my eyes lit up as I saw three people rolling bikes up to the door. Inside was an even better sight: