Tuesday, December 07, 2010

12 Days of Christmas - Day 6 - Charity

I mentioned on Day 1 of the 12 Days of Christmas that I have a terrible time coming up with gift ideas. 

Finding gifts for my male coworkers is no exception!

Especially when you factor in, I make about half to a third of what they each make...and I'm a single income home.  And that there are about 10 of them buy for!  I just couldn't afford to do much.

So, the first couple years I did smaller things.

Like one year I ordered a Kona coffee sampler for each of them....directly from Hawaii!  I didn't pick these up at TJ Maxx folks.  I had them shipped in! 

I figured since I lived there for 6 years and that was the one thing I knew they all did was drink coffee...great idea!  Right?

WRONG!  Only one person thanked me...and he told me he had to mix them with regular coffee because he didn't like too much flavor.


They always do a nice gift card from all of them or a spa gift certificate.  So, I always wanted to do something small for each of them. 

So, this one year (keep in mind, when money was SUPER tight) I got Christmas buckets from Wal-Mart for like a $1.  I filled the buckets with movie theater goodies....microwave popcorn, big boxes of candy, etc.  And I got each of them a $5 Blockbuster Gift Card.  I put a tag on each bucket that said something cheesy like "I hope you sit back, relax and enjoy a movie with your family this holiday."

Each of these ended up costing me about $10! 

Image Courtesy of The Polka Dot Chair

All I got was, "Just what I need...more candy and food."


I've done a couple other "FAILS" as well that I don't even remember.  So, then I started baking and just decorating brown paper sacks and filling them with home baked cookies. 

But again, I got the "Just what I need" comments. 

Picture courtesy of Sweet Additions

So, last year I decided I wasn't wasting any more of my hard earned money on unappreciative people!!!
(I don't know if you remember this from a previous post...common courtesy is REALLY big to me.)

SO....I figured there were SOME people in this world that would appreciate the money I typically spent on office gifts!!

I have a very special spot in my heart for the homeless.

I guess because I feel most of us are only a generous relative willing to take us in and a paycheck or two away from being homeless ourselves.

So, I started giving my money to the local homeless shelter.  The one where I see the men waiting outside, on my drive home sometimes, for the doors to open so they can get out of the cold and the snow.

Last year I had Doodle make cards for everyone and inside I put this poem (which I wrote...I'm obviously no poet, LOL):

I hope your holiday season is wonderful and bright!

Instead of thinking and thinking with all my might
Instead of heading straight off to the mall
Fighting the crowds, to find the perfect present for all

I decided that we each have everything we need
And that we’d find more joy in being able to feed
The hungry, the lonely, the homeless, the cold
And probably quite a few of the old

So, this year instead of gifts, to the homeless is where we’ll give
As a way to thank God for His blessings and the beautiful life we’re able to live!

Merry Christmas ~ Erin

This year in lieu of gifts, Jessica and I have made a donation to the Wheeler Mission.

No big surprise, no one said a word.

But this time I didn't mind! :)

That's my plan again for this year!  But I suppose I'll have to create a new poem.  Hmmmm..... :)

Until tomorrow....


  1. Wonderful, wonderful! Now only did you get the last word but it was done in such a gracious way and helped other as well. Super! (Personally I can't imagine anyone so rude as to make negative comments about a gift)

  2. I think that is really great and if they don't appreciate you than now you are doing something great for others who do appreciate what you are doing...plus I am sure they have all they need! I cant believe that you give someone something and they say nothing...wow!

  3. I love this idea and not just for people who aren't appreciative but for those of us adults who really don't "need" anything else. It really puts our blessings in perspective.

  4. smart idea..you have a cute blog..wish you all the best..keep it up..

  5. Sorry you work with such incredible jerks. You definitely spent more time, attention, and care on them than I would have, but you are obviously a much more patient and kind person. Any one of those gifts you mentioned would have made me ecstatic. Your solution was graceful and gracious, and sure to be appreciated. Bless you. Love your blog.

  6. My word, how inconsiderate and unappreciative your coworkers must be. Sorry about that...
    I can't imagine making a remark to someone like that. Shucks, I'm thrilled if someone shares their candy bar with me.. LOL... much less an actual gift from their heart. I think some people need a reality check about what life and love is really about.

    I applaud your decision to instead donate to a charity that touches your heart. For if not for generous folks such as yourself, they would have no one.

  7. Thanks everyone!!

    Usually I have pretty good coworkers. I think they are just completely unaware of their comments or how they are taken.

  8. Are you kidding me? I am just amazed at how ungrateful some people are! UGH! I thought all your ideas were adorable. My daughter made little popcorn movies buckets for her friends one year with popcorn, candy and one of those little Coke cans each. I thought it was adorable. How rude of them! BUT, how wonderful that you donated to the homeless shelter. What a fabulous idea! I love that and I would have been thrilled for someone to do that instead of giving me something. Fabulous idea that was appreciated by the people you helped.

  9. Well, they're men, right? They'd still be living in caves, naked dirty and cold if it wasn't for us. This is why I have JACKHAMMERED manners into my brood.

    Excellent solution, however, and it's also a very favorite charity of mine!

  10. I once heard an article on the economics of gift giving, well long story short, its not worth it. They suggested you give a card and save your money.

    I love that you decided to donate to the shelter, way cool.

  11. This is perfection. Sometimes I feel like I am trying to buy people gifts who do not need or want anything and that I could do something that someone could really use...perfect idea! Many of my former clients did this in lieu of favors...who needs more chocolate anyway?

  12. I'm sure the homeless shelter appreciates this! I know that it is a much better use of the monies you might have spent on those who don't appreciate all their blessings! May God bless you for it!

  13. Oh honey! This is one of those moments in your life where God was smiling down and thinking " Well done my faithful servant, well done!"

    I pray that God blesses you and Doodle this holiday season!

    Many Blessings,

  14. I think all of your ideas were cute! I can't believe they are all so discourteous... I think I would cry. I agree that giving the money to the homeless shelter is a much better decision.

  15. what a great and wonderful gift idea. That reminds me of that movie, The Year of the Dog where she adopts an animal in each of her family members names. I really love that.

  16. I think this is really what Christmas is about. We all do have what we need and giving to the shelter is the perfect gift :)