All I Want for Christmas…
By: Stephanie Benney
What do you want for Christmas? A whirlwind weekend excursion? A spa package? A Burberry bag to go perfectly with a few designer duds? Perhaps a new Lexus ( due to the repetitive television commercials of a young spouse pulling one in the driveway, complete with a big, red bow)? As successful, powerful and hardworking women, why not right? It can’t hurt to ask Santa.
What was your favorite Christmas present you have ever received? Maybe it was from your childhood, from family members helping make ends meet when you were going through a rough time in your life, or possibly it was a sentimental gift. Maybe it was a memory of a Christmas shared with a loved one who has since passed away.
My favorite Christmas present was the joy shared spending time with the women in my family. Once the table was cleared, dishes washed and put away, coffee and cookies on the table, the games began…literally. My Grammy, Mom, Aunt Sue, Aunt Cheryl and myself would gather around the dining room table for multiple games of Phase 10. We would laugh and cut loose; in fact, I discovered my talent for impersonating Sean Connery during one of our games a few years back.
I lost my Grammy, the rock and head of our matriarch in March 2010. These were experiences I relished in during the moment, as if I was having an out of body experience; these are moments I continue to pull close to me during the Christmas season and also others time through the year when I am feeling a bit nostalgic. For 2 years, my Mom, Aunt Sue, Aunt Cheryl and I have carried on the tradition, but the times we spent with Grammy are always brought up and we know, somewhere, she is still playing with us.
When you really think about what matters and what doesn’t, the material aspects go out the window. It’s the gifts we give to others, and sometimes without even knowing. Maybe you have everything you want and maybe it’s silly to ask for anything. So, when you are writing your Christmas list this season, why no ask for your loved ones to give to a cause or charity on your behalf?
Are you the type of person who wants to make others’ dreams and goals come true? Ask for a donation to “Innovation Works”. Each year, their technology helps entrepreneurs, researchers and manufacturers build and improve the economy by fueling their ideas.
Perhaps you never knew what it was like to worry about anything growing up; your heath, food and shelter was a constant. Safe, drinkable and disease-free water was not a thought in your mind. Help improve a child’s life and give them the opportunity for a future by having your donation sent to the “Against Malaria Foundation”. AMF provides long-lasting insecticide-treated nets for protection against Malaria in bulk to other organizations, which then distribute them in developing counties.
Maybe you have a sweet spot in your heart for animals. Help reduce animal suffering caused by people, by sending your gift to the “Animal Welfare Institute”. They seek better treatment of animals everywhere – in the laboratory, on the farm, in the commerce, at home and in the wild.
These are just a few of the thousands of charities working hard to improve the world you live in. Select one that means something to you and help them continue to make their mark as a positive force in a world that sometimes seems so callous and disconnected.
Dedicated to my Grammy, “Queen of Charitable Donations”.
Stephanie Benney is a “Sustainable Visionary” and also the new Pittsburgh Representative for Fuzed Marketing, where she helps companies increase their brand presence. firstname.lastname@example.org