Harrison’s list for this Christmas is not that long – a Frank and a set of monster trucks from Mater’s Tall Tales.
He doesn’t need much, either. He has several winter coats, warm blankets, food in his belly, and a momma and daddy that love him more than anything in the world. He’s a lucky kid and very, very fortunate.
Oftentimes at Christmas, I start thinking about the little boy we sponsor through World Vision. His name is Marcos and he’s Harrison’s age and I get letters from his momma. He likes cars, too. I think about what Christmas must be like for him and I hate that while I worry about finding my three-year-old’s die cast combine, his mom worries about whether he will be vaccinated. When I roll my eyes about more preschool holiday activities, his momma wonders if Marcos will be able to attend school.
The reality of our disparities tends to smack me in the face this time of year. (I wish it smacked me hourly. We all need more smacking of this nature.)
Every year at Christmas, we try to do something with Harrison that gives back a little further. Last year we gave a goat through World Vision to Marcos’ village and this year we pulled a tag off an Angel Tree. Harrison will go with me to the store to fulfill that Angel Tree request. It’s simply important to me that we find ways to show Harrison that the holidays are about giving and letting that lesson stick throughout the year.
Give a coat 1 of 8One Warm Coat takes used coats and gives them to those in need -- men, women, and children. Have your toddler go through closets with you and find a local donation station for drop-off.
Find out more about One Warm Coat here.
Make a donation to Big Bird 2 of 8Your daughter watches Big Bird every morning? Make a donation in her honor! Making a donation is just one more way of saying "Thanks for that extra 20 minutes in the morning, PBS!"
Donate to your local PBS here.
Bring dinner to the Ronald McDonald House 3 of 8There are families with children that will stay at the house over the holidays. Have your toddler help you make spaghetti and cookies and take them to a house!
Find one in your area at Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Donate to the Salvation Army 4 of 8$5 gives a hat and gloves, $50 gives a coat, $100 feeds a family for a week.
Skip the ringing bell and Donate to Salvation Army here.
Donate to a child at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital 5 of 8You've seen the commercials on television and know that no child is turned away for financial reasons. Make a donation for the kids who aren't as healthy as yours this Christmas.
Help this charity hospital continue its mission by donating to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
Give a toy to a child in need 6 of 8Have your toddler pick the toy he wants most of all. Buy one to put under his tree and one to give to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots.
Find a Toys for Tots drop-off location.
Donate books to your local library 7 of 8Most libraries accept gently used books or cash donations. It's a great way to make extra space on your bookshelves and say "thank you!" for using the libary throughout the year.
Give a goat 8 of 8World Vision's gift catalogue allows you to choose livestock or resources for families in third world countries. To keep giving throughout the year, sponsor a child in need.
See this year's catalogue at World Vision.