Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Annual PSA

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat;
Please put a penny in the old man's hat.

Yes, Pobble Thoughts readers you fabulous few, it's that time of year again. You're (perhaps) thinking about giving. I'm (definitely) thinking about the fact that we are thinking about giving. Times are tough this year for more of us than usual so if you're not giving this year, I'm not judging. Truth be told, I'm not giving in the amounts I usually do, either, and consider myself beyond blessed that I can do anything. Last year, I posted a list of suggestions beyond Barbies, action figures, Stovetop stuffing and green beans (which are worthy donations and always welcome). I've reposted that list at the end of this if you want to check it out. But I don't want to just repost that list so here are some other thoughts beyond the Barbies and last year's list (which is still as valid as the Stovetop!)

If you haven't got a penny
Then a ha'penny will do.

First, in case you haven't heard about them, let me tell you about an organization called Toys for Troops. No, that's not a typo. Toys for Troops ( was created by Lori over at This Just In. Talk about a little idea growing beyond all possible expectations. This organization sends Beanie Babies and soccer balls to soldiers to pass out to the kids of the respective countries year-round. This time of year, they have sent holiday packages to the soldiers themselves. But did you read that previous sentence? They do this year-round. Which means shipping costs. And postage. And gas for the cars that drive to the drop off locations to pick up the toys to be postaged and shipped. Year-round. While it's too late to get in on the actual holiday package events this year, it's not too late to donate monies. For our soldiers. At war. Year-round. And the coolest thing is I can promise you (PROMISE YOU) every single penny you send will be spent actually on postage or shipping. Seriously. No explanation I can write will make this sound as amazing as it actually is so go check out the link.

Second, remember that kids aren't the only ones in need. Or lonely. Or alone. Which is bad enough in March but really, really sucks this time of year. Elders in your community are in need, lonely and alone, too. Think I'm wrong? I just googled "Christmas donations for elders" and came up with over 100,000 hits from community papers all over the country. I wish I could link something generalized here that would be applicable to all of us and I'm sorry I can't because Pobble Thought readers are so scattered. Still, it's something to think about. Be in touch with your local senior center, YMCA/YWCA, shelters, nursing get the idea. As much as I have always loved doing holiday donations for kids, the one year I remember most was the year we "adopted" a senior. All he wanted was "warm pajamas, please." He got a little more than that Christmas morning ~ and his warm pajamas.

Third, for my more misanthropic readers who have basically given up on humanity (you know who you are), remember the animals. Donations of dog/cat food, heartworm meds, pupy pads and kitty litter are always welcome at animal shelters and rescue organizations. Some food banks are even accepting them these days.

Finally, consider going to your calendar right now (okay, finish reading so you know why you're going to your calendar but you get the idea) and picking a day between March and September. Add some nonperishables to your grocery cart that day. Pick up an extra tube of toothpaste and a thing of deoderant then. Volunteer an hour of your time when no one else is bothering. Toys for Troops isn't the only organization that runs year-round. Nor is it the only one that tends to be forgotten the other nine months out of the year. Organizations love the people who give this time of year. Really. They do. But the ones who remember the other times of the year are the people who keep the organizations up and running to be around at this time of the year.

And, if what you really want to do is give to a child or family right now, keep reading. The list is there at the end. And thank you. From someone who did this for a very long time and is still grateful to the people who helped make it possible.

If you haven't got a ha'penny
Then God bless you!

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will give someone a happier holiday.

The List (with thanks from some of last year's contributors)
wrapping paper, ribbon and tape
artificial Christmas trees and ornaments
stocking stuffers
gifts for teenagers ~ especially teenage boys
full-sized toiletries (because guess what? people still need to brush their teeth!)
gift cards for gas stations
board games the whole family can playbooks
adult-sized underwear ~ especially men's
AA batteries
ballcaps for your local team
t-shirts with funny sayings on them
posters of bands or cars or sayings (not religious, please)
clever boxer shorts
art supplies
books (novels, action, sci-fi or How-To just to name a few)


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this.

Hermes said...

Boo-yah. You said it. But I have to disagree about the toothbrushing thing. I've gone eight years without brushing my teeth and so far not one cavity.

OK, kidding.

Lori Stewart Weidert said...

Hear, Hear! (or is it here, here? I always get that mixed up. I just know it's not "there, there.")

I'm ashamed to admit there have been times in the past that I'd be so embarrassed that I could only make a "pittance" of a donation, that I'd not donate at all. I have learned BIG that $1 and $5 donations are every bit as (or more) important as $100 donations. They're easier to come buy, put less of a pinch on the donator, and add up fast!

I've met dozens of people that want do something, but don't have the money. We don't always need money to accomplish a thing: you have a pen and a paper? Say hey to a soldier. Oh, we have ways of helping you help!

Thanks for the great post.

2 Dollar Productions said...

I like this list as it covers the spectrum of people and animals and the timing couldn't be better as my wife & I are sitting down this weekend to make out who and what we can give. Thanks Pobble (and I love the word misanthropic).

lithus said...

I work at being a better person, this incudes giving to the usual groups if I can. I have however overlooked what now seems obvious. I think that you are correct to point out the needs of the older kids and even adults who also have needs.
Even if only to be thought of can make a big difference to any of us.


CrackerLilo said...

What fantastic ideas! I especially love the idea of picking out a random "non-holiday" day. Our local food banks ask us to donate in summer to make up for the school lunches that children won't be getting for three months, which is wonderful, but there are other needs as well. I'll be doing that one! I have also donated to Toys for Troops before, but forgotten about them, so thanks for the reminder.

Aisha T. said...

Thanks, BP. I am in the same boat this year since I am not sure if I will have a job come the New Year but, I am going to try to give what I can--just not in the amounts of the past. It's a great reminder--especially that to remember year round.

BostonPobble said...

Neo ~ You're very welcome.

GOML! ~ Somehow, I knew you were. ;)

GNightGirl ~ And thank you. You are right. A little can mean a lot. Plus, food banks and shelters can make our $2 stretch like mad.

$$ ~ Glad the timing was good. Always happy to help. And thanks to you and Mrs. $$ for taking the time to figure it out and give what you can.

Blacklok ~ I do think that for many older people it isn't so much the gift as it is knowing someone cared enough to send something. You're right. And you're welcome.

CrackerLilo ~ The nonholiday giving is actually my favorite. Shelves are pretty bare by August.

Aisha ~ As I mentioned in the comment to GNG, even 2 or 3 bucks can go a long way in the hands of the right people. Great that you are willing to give in spite of what the new year might bring. And I'll be sending warm, employed fuzzies your way, just in case.

Rose said...

Great list!