Christmas and the Scrooge

Special to
USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
The Black Business Journal

It is that time of the year again: Christmas and the season of goodwill and charity. Christmas is the one Christian tradition that is almost universally celebrated. Television and radio ads. bombard us with gift ideas for our children and for our loved ones, in the West , children draw up lists for Santa to come ho ho hoing down the chimney ( or through the door) to fulfill, people ask for charity for themselves or for others in the community. If nothing else, Christmas has become a time to give and be given. It has become a time that we expect ourselves to be generous. However, this is not always an easy task ( at least for me).

Outside our local Loblaws supermarket, the Kanata Food Drive had set up a Food Drive campaign for the less fortunate. With my trolley bulging with grocery and toys ( some of which were totally unnecessary) and my heart bursting with goodwill, I went to contribute. I put my hand in my coat pocket, pulled out a note, took a peep at it but decided it was too much to give away. I checked in my purse for some loose change and donated that instead. As soon as I walked away, I felt very bad. The note I had declined to give was less than the cost of my little boy's toy car. And believe me, that car was the latest addition to an already large collection of cars.

I got home and opened my copy of the "Kourier Standard", a local paper. My eyes fell on a story about two young local girls who had been inspired, by the sight of an "executive-type looking man" who had given away his leather gloves to a homeless man on the street, to start an organization which caters to the homeless in winter. These girls collect warm socks and gloves and distribute them to the needy on the streets. Did I feel worse than I already did!

While we all cannot be Mother Teresas, working hands on with the poor and needy, we can give what we can, not just what we will not miss. While we cannot take on life's burdens, let us make someone's life a little bit easier this Christmas season. When next you dip your hand into your wallet for charity, surprise yourself and be really generous. Really impress yourself.

For those who are in the habit of sending money home, send a little bit extra for that relative or friend who is not expecting anything. Make someone's day, make someone's year. While you are at it, teach your children that this is a season for them to give too. Let them clear out their toy box, and choose which toys they want to give away. Generous children become generous adults ( and this is no critique on my parents!) The world could do with a lot of those.

This year, let us all resolve to do away with the scrooging  It is difficult for many of us, but, it is possible and it is worth it.
Unigwe, an aulmnus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; KU Leuven and UC Louvain in Belgium, has recently joined and USAfrica The Newspaper as Canada-based contributing editor and columnist. She is the author of 'Teardrops', a collection of poems, and her short story, 'Touched by an Angel', was broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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