I know this post has nothing to do with food, Italy or travel, but I can't help but put my two cents in on the subject of giving...after all 'tis the season. Like most of you, I am passionate about giving. I love to give - hugs, help, food, gifts, a listening ear, etc. It seems that during the holiday season, when consumer pressure to buy is at its highest, that we all need to be reminded that sometimes giving the free things in life are the sweetest.
As most of you know, my mom passed away this year. It was during my time caring for her that I realized how much I got out of giving. Caring for her made me feel good. I have read that there is scientific evidence that shows that when we make someone else feel good, we have the same reaction in our bodies on a cellular level that the receiver does. And remember Saint Francis' quote, "In giving, we receive." It was also during this difficult year that I became so grateful for the small things (and some big things) that friends did for our family. A simple gesture like making a pot of soup for us seemed like the most perfect gift in the world.
So, I want to gently remind everyone that sometimes the smallest gifts and gestures can be the best gifts and that spending money is not always or, really, not at all, necessary. Try baking something for your neighbor, or offering to care for their pet while they are away. Try creating an artistic piece for a friend, perhaps a photo you took or an inspirational quote handwritten on beautiful paper. Offer to cook your friend a lovely meal, or give a massage to a loved one. The ideas are endless.
If you do have money to spend, then why not give it to a charity in someone else's name for a gift? There are so many good charities out there and so many people and animals around the world in need. I think it is important to investigate charities to see how much of your gift dollar actually goes toward the actual recipient, and how much goes toward their administration. Here are a few of my favorite charities, all of which have low over-heads.
If you have a blog, why don't you do a post about our favorite charities to help spread the word during this important giving season? If you do a post, please leave a comment here so that I am aware of it. If you don't have a blog, just leave your favorite charity in a comment form here then. Let's spread the spirit of giving!
Have a passionate and giving day!