After being in Israel for 8 weeks, getting home just in time for Thanksgiving, our time for Christmas shopping and giving was growing shorter every day. We did not send out our usual basket of Christmas cards complete with picture and letter, we slipped gifts into bags instead of boxes with hand tied big bows, and we said no to many very kind invitations. We just couldn't get it all together this year.
One of the most important things we do at Christmas is give to Samaritans Purse, Salvation Army, Angel Tree or some of very worthwhile charity. It's SO fun to participate in those very legitimate organizations. No time to get all that done.
SO....when my friend suggested a NEW IDEA, we decided to give it a try.
We went to the bank and withdrew $50 bills in the amount we would normally give to a charity. We put each on in a plain envelope with a very Merry Christmas written on the outside. On Christmas Eve afternoon we drove to a neighboring city to the Walmart there. We were looking for some folks that were stressed, doing last minute shopping, perhaps with children or some lonely look on their face.
WOW! What fun!
Our first recipient was a very elderly lady, dressed in the Walmart yellow vest pushing a long line of grocery carts toward the door. She looked stressed, tired and very old. Why was this woman working on Christmas Eve when she obviously needed to be sitting in her warm home surrounded by loved ones, drinking hot tea or maybe even a hot toddy? We could only imagine her situation.
Honeybuns approached her, bent over to give her a hug and slipped the envelope into her hand. Her whole countenance changed instantly. She stood taller, smiled the biggest smile and her face lit up. She hadn't event opened the envelope yet. I waved and shouted Merry Christmas and we continued into the store. (We made a vow to hand out the envelopes and move on, not wait for a thank you or even an acknowledgment.)
/#2, We spotted an older African American lady pushing her car through the store, talking on her phone while shopping. Her buggy was pretty sparse. She took off and I followed. It looked like I was stalking her, no doubt. I finally caught up with her. I touched her arm and said, "I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and I'd like to give you this." She smiled, looked confused and I turned around and walked off. Several aisles later she found me, insisting on hugging and thanking me. We were experiencing Christmas together right there for those few minutes. No names exchanged, no other chit chat, no news of my life or hers.....just a simple hug and broad smiles.
#3. Honeybuns spotted a darling little Mexican family, a mom, a dad and a cute little boy. They were shopping in the toy section but nothing in their cart suggested they'd not yet made a decision. He handed the dad the envelope, wished them a Merry Christmas with a broad smile and handshake. The child looked up and said, "Thank you!" He had no idea what he'd been given and it didn't matter to him one whit.
#4. Another family. They were very young! One small child was in their cart with one toy. The father had a bandage on his ear as if he'd experienced a recent surgery. I hugged the young mother and handed her the envelope. She looked confused, maybe she didn't speak English. I turned and walked away.
Oh my. We were SO happy. We were walking on air out of that Walmart. What a fun new tradition. Next year we're going to get the grands involved in this. It truly IS more blessed to give than to receive!
Yes....steal this idea! You will NOT regret it.