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St. Louis, MO, United States
What the name sez, Christian, conservative, 2nd amendment supporter. Physician, wife, daughter and loving mother.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Conservative Way to Spread the Wealth Around

The media is full of stories about increasing unemployment statistics, the failing stock market, range wars over financial bailouts for banks, industries, states and cities and all manner of terrifying news for the common man. It is no wonder that people are holding onto their wallets and being very conservative at this time of gift-giving. I talked to some friends earlier today who had been doing Christmas shopping at the several of the local malls. They commented that the malls were not very busy given the time of the year. If we don't spend, businesses aren't profitable and they can't afford to keep employees or expand services, so more people are placed under financial hardship and now there are more people who cannot spend and a vicious cycle is created. There are more people this year who might be looking at a less than happy Christmas season than in previous years.

So what might we do this year to mitigate the hard times that are upon us?

Support the little mom and pop enterprises in your community..whether it is the hardware store or the local eatery, keep it local if you can.

If you have a bit of extra money, may I suggest that you use it for a charitable cause that will aid those in need. Making this a family project will teach children that it is more blessed to give than to receive and help us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Some suggestions that are easy to do are:

Give to the US Marines Toys for Tots drive.
Adopt a family or an individual through your local church or hospital and use your resources to give someone else a memorable Christmas. The whole family can get into the spirit by shopping for the adopted family together and planning on the best gifts to give.
Contribute to an orphanage or child welfare group so that children without family ties are not forgotten at this time of year.
Support the Salvation Army by putting any money, even your spare change in the bell ringer's kettles. Even the widow's mite can be put to use. Challenge your children to save money that can be contributed to help others.
Rather than giving gifts that will be returned on December 26 or never used, donate to a charity in the name of the recipient rather than giving a gift. Many charities are seeing their donations fall alarmingly this year and are in great need in order to continue to provide their services.

If you are strapped for finances you can still give the gift of time by volunteering or giving of yourself.
You can clean a house for someone who is physically unable to do some housekeeping tasks.
You can help at a food pantry, soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
You can help to wrap presents to be distributed by any number of agencies.
You can read to someone who is visually impaired.
You can volunteer to help elementary school children in literacy programs.
You can drive an invalid to treatments, doctor appointments or therapy.
You can make meals for an elderly neighbor who cannot get out easily.
You can take a shut-in to the grocery store.
You can offer to baby sit for someone who needs to look for a job.
You can invite someone who will be alone for the holidays to join your Christmas celebration.

Getting away from the mercenary message and back to the true meaning of Christmas is something that we need and these trying times can be the impetus to return to a simpler, purer Christmas. My husband and I have chosen not to exchange gifts this year and instead have participated in several activities with the money that we would have spent on each other. In so doing, we have been blessed. We have chosen our projects together. We have set aside Saturdays to shop together for our adopted families, and other projects. We have spent entire weekends together working on the projects we have chosen and have truly enjoyed each other's company. We have more Christmas spirit than we have had in several years.

Come join us and spread the wealth around!!


  1. But Conservatives are supposed to be evil and uncaring. Never mind those survey results that we give more than Liberals do. We can't take your advice because our uncaring image will suffer.

  2. I'm telling you...charity is the way to go! My family and I don't by gifts for each other anymore, we have everything we need and if not, then we buy it. It helps knowing that I don't have to go in a Walmart or Target at this time of year.

    It's very freeing.

  3. Hi Carolyn, Here's a charitable thing that I did, as an example. I walked into our local senior center with my 3-yr-old daughter. (She was the last & easiest of my kids, so I was looking to start getting involved with life outside the house again.)

    I said, "You must have people who need rides to doctors and shopping, etc." They said, "I don't know, but we'll take your name." By the time I got home, I already had phone messages from people who needed rides to dr. apptmts.

    I called "Audrey" and she said that her husband just started dialysis, and needed a ride to get there. I said, "When?" And she said, "Every Tues. and Thurs. at noon."

    Wow. It hadn't occurred to me that I might be signing up for something semi-permanent, but there was no technical reason why I couldn't do it, so I said yes.

    Well, every Tues./Thrs. turned into every Mon., Weds., Fri. I drove him right before taking my middle child to afternoon kindergarten, and his wife picked him up after work. We did this for 18 months. I never failed to provide a ride for him.

    One day as I was driving and chatting about The 40 Days of Purpose, Mr. Johnson told me that "Christians are hypocrites and Muslim killers." Hello? Who did he think was saving his butt by driving him for free for the last year and a half? He was a cranky old guy, but that sort of fell into the category of abuse. And I'd had enough abuse as a child, so I didn't think it would be healthy for me to accept that behavior.

    I went home and thought about it, and soon after told him that I would give him a month to arrange another ride, and then I would not be driving him anymore. He yelled at me and told me not to bother coming back anymore and slammed the door! Wow.

    I figured he'd call in a few days and apologize and thank me for all my effort, but I never heard from him again.

    Afterwards, some of my friends from church expressed their thought that I shouldn't have been so generous to him, like I was doing it out of weakness and wanting to be liked or some such idea. No, that wasn't it folks. I had an opportunity to serve "the least of us", and I did it. I already knew that "the least of us" aren't very pretty, but kindness isn't supposed to be hinged upon getting kindness in return.

    So that's my story about charity, and I'm always doing some kind of charitable thing, but that one was interesting.

    Thanks for the follow on TCOT!

    Crista Huff JTCRHUFF@aol.com