Of course, as I’ve grown older, I know that not everyone is as fortunate to have such a joyous holiday season. For the past several years, I’ve made it a priority to adopt a child/family for Christmas. This year, I was especially excited to be able to take on 4 different children from Operation Santa and Adopt-A-Family in Woonsocket, RI – which helped me check off Days 12 and 13 of 25 Days of Christmas Kindness.
Adopt-A-Family in Rhode Island helps local needy families, including some residing in the homeless shelter, and you provide the kids with clothing, toys, and stocking stuffers for a complete Christmas.
Operation Santa is done through participating post offices who set aside letters from children and parents who have written to “Santa” asking for help over the holidays. The postal workers sort through and make a decision about which letters seem like genuine need versus just want, and then they allow people to adopt letters. You buy the presents, wrap ‘em up, and then pay to ship them.
“I hope you can please send a gift for this years Christmas. I have been a very good boy this year. I know my mom is not working and we don’t have a lot of money so could you make my wish come true by sending one gift for us for Christmas?”
“Dear Santa, I’m a 24 year old single mom. I never knew what it was to open a present on Christmas and I was always waiting for the night Santa would come and leave my present…. I’m writing to see if you can help me make a difference in my son’s life. I didn’t know what it was like to be a kid and I don’t want to take that away from him too.”
I was really excited to be able to help out. Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve spent several days shopping for these children. I happen to be a big bargain hunter, which benefits me twofold: 1) I spend much less, and 2) I end up burning more calories while shopping because I have to look around more (you knew I was going to tie nutrition or fitness in here somewhere, right?)!
I wore a pedometer as I shopped each time I went out, and tallied up the mileage from each of my three shopping trips. The total? A little over 6 miles – or around 600 calories. It’s not a ton, but in a season where most people gain a pound or two, I’m happy to get the extra calorie burn in any way I can.
Have you donated anything or volunteered at all this holiday season? Remember that giving and altruism are not only good for others, but good for your health too.