Thursday, July 26, 2012

Christmas in July

Does the thought of Christmas make you cringe right now?

Maybe the thought of Christmas brings a flood of happy memories, like the wide-eyed wonder of a child or the anticipation of cooler temperatures and the first snowfall of the season.

I'll go with happy memories, minus the snowfall (since it rarely snows here) and I love the sights and sounds of the Holiday Season.

I think of friends and family, food-lots of yummy food!, lots of shopping! and gathering together and sharing.

Being home, being together with loved ones, sharing and creating memories, that's what the thought of Christmas brings.

I have several relatives and friends that are active in the military and are currently or have been deployed in places far away from home.  I'm sure you also have loved ones in the same situation, and know how much they cherish contact from home.

Mail is something they look forward to and getting a letter or package from home will make their day. Imagine how they would feel is they received packages from home everyday for about a week?

Packages filled with cookies, candy, newspapers, magazines, letters, pictures, socks and love!

There is a group that does just that for our service men and women!  They are called Operation Baking Gals.

Every month, they organize into groups across the country, to bake, buy, package and ship goodies and love to these people stationed far from home.  Just imagine how happy these brave men and women are when they start getting so many packages!

Participation is voluntary, but you do have to sign up.  This is something I have done with my granddaughter. We baked cookies, packed them up and shipped them off.  Both of us were so happy to do it.

For more information about Operation Baking Gals go here.

If baking is not your thing and your closets are over-flowing with fabric/yarn (don't be like me!) you can sew/knit/crochet receiving blankets and donate them to your local police/fire station or hospital.  Sometimes the first responders need a blanket for a tiny victim, and hospitals like to send gifts home with the new babies. Check with your local police, fire station and hospital for more information.

Do you drive past a homeless person on a corner, standing with a cardboard sign asking for help?  Do you hand that person a few dollars if you have them?

I know it is so hard to pass these people.  A friend of mine gave a great idea I am going to share.  When she knew she was going to go by an area where homeless people would be on the corner, she packed simple lunches in brown paper bags for them.  Nothing fancy, just PB&J, apple, cookies, water.  She would hand that to them.  Even just a bottled water or a bag of cookies would be fine.

I know sometimes, as you drive away, you see the person look inside your bag then toss it in the bushes.  Don't let that discourage you!  The first time someone looks into your eyes and says "God bless you!" you will forget all about it!

These are just a few ideas to keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year.  Just because the season is over, the sharing and caring can continue!

One person cannot do it all, but think of what we can achieve if we all did something!

Don't forget about the In Focus theme "water"!  Be sure to add your pictures to the flickr gallery!  Your pictures are so nice!  I love stopping over there to see them!

"I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year"  ~Charles Dickens



Carol said...

Wow Linda,

This is the best post ever! Like everyone else, I talk a good game. -- but how often do I actually live it? Inspiration for SO MUCH more than photography! You have inspired me to help make the world a better place like you are doing! I especially love the lunch bag idea. that solves many problems with handing out money.
Bless you for these wonderful ideas and for all you are doing to help those who need it.

Jeanne said...

Love your post and such a great idea about the lunch bags! I am going to do that! Yes, the spirit of Christmas is a wonderful thing to have all year around!

leigh said...

Such a great idea to do the operation baking gals with your granddaughter! I need to remember the spirit of Christmas all year. Here in Oklahoma City you can buy vouchers to hand out to people who are standing out on the street corners with the signs. The vouchers include bus & meal tickets. The ones who really need them will truly appreciate them. Great post Linda!

Viv (modifica) said...

Love your post a great idea . Love and helping out should be a year around thing.

Dotti said...

A wonderful, very inspiring post, Linda! You've given us all such a variety of ways to put our caring into actions. It's sad but true ... we think a lot about others who are less fortunate than we ... and our brave men and women serving overseas ... but we ... okay, make that "I" ... seldom put it into action. Oh, I do put my change in the hunger boxes at Panera Bread, and similar boxes at church, I give to local charities that feed the poor. But I seldom get it down to a more personal level. I think the idea that OKC has about buying vouchers to give to the less fortunate is fabulous!

Thanks for the challenge, Linda!


susan said...

Beautiful post and lovely photo, Linda! It's so nice to wake up and read something positive other than the 'morning news' which is for the most part...sad. Your article was quite uplifting, so...thanks for starting my day with 'hope'! :) xo ~ susan

Deanna said...

I love that you are feeling that spirit of giving in July when the fartherest thing from my mind right now is Christmas. You have gently reminded us that Christmas and giving should be in our hearts year-round.

terriporter said...

What a great post, Linda! I love the idea of the lunch bags and OKC's idea of using vouchers. Great ways to help people who really need it. Thanks for reminding us that giving should be a year-round thing, not just during the holidays.

Kim Stevens said...

Ahhh, Christmas starts for me in July . . . I'm the one that gets excited when they start packing the shelves at Hobby Lobby with decorations. :)

But, on a more serious are so right, that giving shouldn't be exclusive to Christmas. Something fun I like to do at a drive through is pay for something for the person behind me. I was the recipient of that once and it touched me so much!! And random acts of kindess are contagious!! Great post....

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