I’ve already made it quite clear that I’m not a fan of Christmas. Unpopular opinion I know, I’m sorry. I think it’s my lack of family and the emphasis on family that makes this time of year difficult for me. I often try and volunteer or just spend time giving back in some way for two reasons. I’ll be honest and say that one is to try and keep my own life in perspective. Maybe if I give things to those that are really in need, my own personal problems won’t be quite as glaring. Is that selfish? The other reason is that I genuinely like to make others happy and the thought of kids waking up without any presents under their tree-or without any tree for that matter-just breaks my heart. I had wonderful Christmases growing up and I want it to be magical for other kids too.

This year I’ve decided to really do something different. Not only am I taking my mom out of the country on a surprise trip over the actual Christmas holiday, I am thinking about not celebrating Christmas personally. This isn’t one of those excuses to get out of buying people presents. It’s more that I have everything I need that can be bought and I don’t want friends feeling the need to buy gifts for me. I’ve spent so much time alone in the last few months, I realize that time is precisely what matters to me. In exchange for gifts, I’ve made a deal with my few closest friends that we will promise not to get each other anything and instead we are going to pick a way to give back. This may be separate based on the friendship. I just want money to be spent on those that are truly in need, so their Christmas can be a little bit better.

givemas-blog-picWe are about to start doing Christmas wishes here on our show and I always like to select one of those to do on my own. This isn’t a new idea for me, it’s just that I’ve never thrown it out there to my girlfriend before. Hey, not everyone wants to do things my way and that’s ok. I know people like buying and receiving presents from others and there’s nothing wrong with that. I have just been very fortunate in the last year and I always try and share that with my close friends year round. Not just over the holidays. If you want to join in on this with me and my friends that would be awesome! I don’t think there should be an exact flavor of philanthropy, so it’s essentially up to you what you would like to do instead of giving gifts to each other.

A few Christmases ago I saw a family across from the apartment building where I lived. I actually saw the kids every day when I would walk my dog. The kids never had a fully inflated soccer ball. I tried talking to them one day, but they all spoke Spanish and it was nearly impossible to understand one another. However, gifts are a universal language. I went to Target on Christmas Eve that year with my mom and decided I was going to spend 300 dollars on whatever we could get for the kids. We bought balls, makeup, a DVD player, Nerf toys, etc….I didn’t want to be intrusive, but I could tell this was a family that could definitely use some gifts. Even though we didn’t speak the same language, they welcomed us into their home and opened all of the items. Even the grown men were excited about the football and the DVD player:) They were celebrating Christmas Eve watching football and enjoying food. They filled up plates for my mom and I and we sat there sharing food and watching football with such a language barrier we weren’t able to speak, but it seems we totally understood one another:) I think that is a pretty cool Christmas memory.

I would also love to find a way to avoid spending 100 dollars on wrapping paper:) Maybe one day I will get back into the Christmas spirit with my own family. But this year is going to be the year of solely giving back. How are you going to give back?! Share your ideas with me! #GiveMas