An unusal Christmas

My very first thought when I saw the Blogging Chick Carnival theme was to suggest it would be easier to just skip the holidays altogether. The Holiday Blues is not a favorite music group or Christmas album at my house. It’s my dancing partner for the season and has been most of my life.

There are probably a few armchair therapists as well as some licensed ones who might ask that as “mature” as I am, why I haven’t pursued the “cause and effect” and worked through the problem. ‘Tis a good question and maybe I’ll get back to you.

Instead let’s talk about our 2005 Holiday season.

Last year the hubby and I received an E-mail early on from one of my childhood ‘forever’ friends. She and her husband had been recruited by their church to spearhead a relief team in an earthquake ravaged region of Kashmir. They had lived in Pakistan for quite a few years with their three daughters; their knowledge of the culture and language made them the perfect choice for such an endeavor.

When she first wrote, her husband was already in “Bagh” and she was making travel arrangements. The message was critical because it might be only days before the winter snows arrived and “250,000 human beings from Bagh will freeze to death” if help did not arrive.

The E-mail was a plea from her heart. She asked that her friends, family, and her church members consider sending money to their organization as well as forward her E-mail on to everyone in their address book. They calculated they would require $8,000,000 to cover what their organization had pledged.

Her other plea was Prayer. Even those who couldn’t contribute financially could partner with them in a prayer covering for their quest.

The hubby and I were shocked at that outrageous goal. But that was nothing new. They have always shocked us and they have always been outrageous. The places they have been, the people they have encountered, and the situations they have experienced are outside the boundaries of the average person. In spite of and because of, we wanted to be a part in their belief that all things are possible. They are Good People.

The hubby and I sat across the kitchen table that Saturday evening to review our finances and our hearts. “He’s makin’ a list and checkin’ it twice” crossed my mind and lips several times during our discussion. We came to a decision.

We called our three daughters and told them that we were going to do something that was very unlike us in regards to Christmas presents. Our holiday gift giving was going to be a lump sum contribution to “Savings Lives in Kashmir.” (The grandchildren would receive a “token” present to unwrap from grandpa and grandma.)

They thought it was an excellent idea, the older grandchildren were skeptical but curious, and the younger ones didn’t even know the difference.

There were no busy stores, half-done lists, duplicate presents and returned merchandise.

Consequently, our holiday was made easier. And I think it was happier, too.

Things were not easy for our friends in Kashmir, unfortunately. They endured long hours, hard work, and every emotion to the nth degree.

Did they meet their goal? The answer is No and Yes. In dollars, they received far less then what they had perceived as a requirement. Instead, the dollars they did receive were blessed and purchased far more blankets and provisions then ever thought possible.

To hear their personal account as they experienced it, I invite you to read their November 2005 through February 2006 blog by linking to the first post on Save Bagh.


willowtree said…
We've done the "no presents" xmas a number of times, in fact its our favourite theme.

Mind you its a lot easier with no kids or grandkids. Unfortunately we have never done it for noble purpose (maybe we should look into that).
Anonymous said…
Good idea! Christmas is about sharing.
Barb said…
A truly wonderful way to *spend* Christmas.
Pam said…
Man...I had this huge comment written out and made a fatal mistake and poof. I am such a dummy.

I'm in no mood to rewrite it all but suffice it to say, I like this post and it is so coincidental because I was thinking of something along similar lines the other day and I will post about it the beginning of December.

BTW...I think that their pump sprayers suck and so does Joyce, my consultant. But the rest is pretty good. And I really don't like it that that stuff is called "Pam" either.
Amanda said…
Gifts are not the reason I look forward to the holidays. Of course, that was the case when I was younger. But today, I look forward to the fellowship with my family, the stories of past holidays and I will admit....the yummy food. It was an easy decision for me to make when you called me. I would give up more than just our Christmas presents if it means helping those less fortunate. Because we have gifts year round: warm houses, healthy and tasty food, great doctors and safe neighborhoods. Not everyone is so lucky. Thank you for making a monatary contribution to "Saving Lives in Kashmir" as I wish I was in a position to help. But one thing I am not short on is hope. And people like your friends bring hope and inspiration to a world that could use more folks like them in it.
very nice story. It really does make people remember what things are truly important.
Matt said…
My modus operandi: stop by Barns & Noble on Christmas Eve and just whip out the credit card. Simple.
Anna Venger said…
I've disliked the holidays for different reasons, but I'll not go into them. But regarding your post, what a wonderful idea. I can imagine it was a happier holiday. It's more blessed to give than to receive afterall.
Robin said…
Pamela, just so you know, I heard every word you said, and every word you didn't.

For me, I'm heading into the most conflicted time of year.....

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