The concept of giving

It’s that time of year that almost every person thinks about giving. The one time of year when the world is bathed in a glow of love and compassion.
Our family has always been big on gift giving with each other. We love to share our love.
And every Christmas morning, we take the time to watch each person unwrap their gift and share in their joy before the next gift is given out from under the tree.
There is joy in giving (as well as receiving).
But I ask the question “Why does this attitude of giving only abound at one time of the year”?
I had a discussion with the Teen the other day when I dared to question the motives of Sir Bob and his latest “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” song offering. I queried why he went to the trouble of organising all these high profile singers to come to a recording studio to sing a re-worked version of a song from the ’80’s when he could have just asked all his recording buddies to dip into their bank accounts and write out a cheque for the cause? Am I just being cynical that this was more about putting himself (and others) in the public eye once more rather than actually raising money for the Ebola crisis?
Don’t get me wrong. I am so very pleased that money is finding its way to this cause through the sales of the recording but why should giving be only limited to this time of year (and for the life of the radio airplay the song receives) and why in such a high profile way?

There are many charities that rely on large appeals at this time of year when people are feeling at their most charitable. I’m not questioning the motives of the charities that run their appeals at this time because they have obviously recognised that this time of year is the best for fundraising. I am questioning why the vast majority of people only feel compelled to donate either at Christmas or right before the end of the tax year so that their donation can be classed as a tax deduction?

My thoughts are that giving should be a year-round thing. For when we give of our time, money or resources we give a part of ourselves. And in giving this part of ourselves, the blessings we receive return hundred fold.
There are so many ‘home-grown’ charities that are born when ordinary people see a need and then step in to fill it.
In the past couple of years I have discovered charities such as Angel Gowns for Angel Babies and Angels for the Forgotten. Both of these sprang up when a need was recognised and both are run purely by volunteers.
My friend Tric in her post “What kind of person are you”? also speaks about a person who became a ‘doer’ rather than a ‘talker’ and began giving to others in her home country of Ireland.
The people who started these charitable groups realised that giving needs to occur year round because people don’t only need assistance at this time of the year.

A couple of months ago I blogged the story I read in Anthony Robbins’ book about the man who delivered a Thanksgiving feast to his family when he was a child. Someone had seen a need and taken the time to fulfill that need. This inspired him so much that he made a vow to one day do the same thing for another family in need.
Anthony Robbins then went on to establish what is now known as The Basket Brigade that delivers food to an estimated 2 million families each year.
From little things, big things grow.

Tony Robbins teaches in his books that through giving we grow within ourselves. By developing a giving nature we not only bless others, but bless ourselves also. I am inclined to agree with him. Service to others requires us to put aside our ego for a short while and that is not a bad thing at all.

So at this time of year, I acknowledge the good works and giving that takes place throughout the world but wish to challenge everyone to keep that giving spirit with them throughout the coming year.
Giving doesn’t have to be monetary. Even those with nothing are able to give.
Sometimes all that is required is to gift someone with a smile.
It only takes one person to make a difference to the life of another.

So to use the words of Tric, are you a ‘doer’ or a ‘talker’?

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30 thoughts on “The concept of giving

  1. I can definitely be a “talker” but thankfully there’s a bit of “doing” in my past, too 🙂 and perhaps my present. Mind you, after a quick two-hour dip into the chaos of Christmas shopping – and yes, I did it first thing on a Monday morning, because I thought I might avoid a crush – I’m feeling a little bah humbug about that particular type of giving!

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  2. As I’m sure you can imagine I totally agree with your post. Giving should be an all year affair, but I suppose with all the waste and overspending it is foremost in our thoughts at Christmas.
    I am always in awe of people, like those I wrote about in my post, get an idea and run with it. Another wonderful charity I follow was started by a man who lost his eight year old daughter to cancer. He began Aoibheanns Pink Tie in her name and they look after all the children in Ireland who end up in the place of our nightmares which is St Johns ward in Crumlin. They help parents pay mortgages or go on a holiday with their sick children and provide dry suits so children with Hickman lines can swim. Amazing people, just like the ones you have linked to. People making a real difference. Great post as always.

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    1. Thanks Tric. Many charities begin at grass roots and sadly after the suffering of someone close to the person who started it.
      I am amazed that there are so many generous and caring souls out there in this world and yet it is still filled with so much hate.

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  3. I’ve always wondered the same. Why do so many people tend to give only during the holidays, when people are in need all year long? Whether it be money, clothes or a hug, there is no doubt that people need it and would appreciate it every day of the year. As far as family goes, my husband and I do gifts throughout the year, so on Christmas we rarely do. That day is mostly reserved for my son, even though he also gets gifts throughout the year.

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    1. Because we generally buy what we need at the time, it is difficult come Christmas time to find something. I do like a little surprise under the tree though. 😉
      The kids always gets spoiled but we tend to spend less and less on each other each year.

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  4. Very thought provoking piece Suz. You know, I think a lot of people are afraid that if they give too much they would have nothing left for themselves, so they limit giving to only a short period each year. Retailers have a concept called “open-wallet” where it is possible to get people to buy more when they are in the mood to buy (open-wallet). People are in the mood to give at Christmas and so their wallet is open. Then, for self-protection, the wallet closes again after the season. I’m sure it is the fear of being left without enough themselves. I know that doesn’t always make sense – especially if the giving is non-monetary like time or volunteer work. But I think it is an emotional response to keep from harming themsleves. In our society,we have been taught that we have to protect oursleves and we have to protect our possessions. This is the anti-thesis of giving and empathy.

    I think that part of the solution is demonstrating to people that it is a positive thing to give, especially of time and effort.

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    1. I think you are right there Paul. I remember the Garden Gnome saying to me one day “You need to slow down on buying stuff to help others (after severe flooding in our area) or we are going to need charity ourselves”. We never did but it did slow me down.
      When so many people are clamouring for our money these days it is difficult to get people to understand that giving doesn’t have to come from the wallet though.

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  5. That Anthony Robbins is one smart feller. I love his books, talks, and what he inspires in me. After seeing all the devastation caused my Mother Nature, I have had a longing to join the volunteers of the Red Cross. I’m fighting to take care of myself so that I feel strong enough to volunteer. Finding a need in the community and then taking action is a wonderful idea–thanks Tric for reminding us.

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    1. You know April if you keep waiting until you are stronger, you may keep on waiting. Why don’t you jump in with both feet and then if you find you aren’t coping, you can scale back?

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      1. Great question, and something to observe about myself. You know, I am simply afraid that if one more thing goes awry, it will destroy me. That’s not a life, and that’s what I’m working on. Maybe I can put one toe in at a time?

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  6. Well said Suz. Had the same conversation with Mr13 about Bob Geldoff and the cult of fame/personality. We give all year round to 2 charities that we know benefit us (Life Saving) and other less fortunate in our own backyard (Smith Family). Occasionally something else will speak to us and encourage us to give (Guide Dogs) just a little, which is better than nothing at all. I also think being available to friends and family (and sometime strangers) to talk or visit helps everyone’s health and happiness. The desire to connect and belong is still as strong as it ever was and sometimes that is the greatest gift we can give. Merry Christmas xx

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    1. I too have charities (and a sponsor child) that we support year round but there is so much need in this world.
      I agree that the desire to connect is extremely strong and I guess that is the roots of volunteering in society.
      Thanks Gi for stopping by and reading. I really hope that you and your boys have the most amazing Christmas.

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  7. Commando and I each have a pet charity and make monthly donations. We have also done quite a few charity walks and runs to raise money for our charities. I’m with you on the high profile once a year giving. I guess at least the charities are getting the money but it would be better if it was a more regular income.

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  8. I wish I could feel the gift of giving more often. We donate to charities but to actually DO something is a different story. Last Christmas we donated our time to a food kitchen and that was very rewarding except stinky back there lol. I hope to do more of this type of thing in the future and I’m thankful for the reminder.

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  9. Excellent challenge! I was just looking at my list of donations from this year, and while it have been year round, it isn’t long enough. I need to up my game!! I am blessed with warmth, food, job, home, and family / friends. I can do more!

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