White Envelope

bydand

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This was e-mailed to me this afternoon. Is it true? I don't know, I would like to think it is. If not, it is a good idea. Not just for the holidays, but birthdays, or any special day or event. I think this is a good idea and am going to start this with my family. Maybe it will help out with my distaste for the crass buy, buy, buy of Christmas, and most other holiday's. Worth a try anyway, and can only help others, not a bad thing.

SIMPLE WHITE ENVELOPE

It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma -- the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else. Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat; he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."

Mike loved kids -- all kids and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition -- one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning it was Joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.
 

Kacey

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True or not, it's a lovely story that demonstrates the true meaning of gifts at the holidays - not the commercialism that has become all too common.
 

donna

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Thanks for sharing that. I really like that idea, might start something like that here!
 

Jade Tigress

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That's a lovely story and I hope it is true. This year my Aunt and Uncle decided to do something different in their family that will become tradition for them. They decided rather than buying each other gifts, they would make them. Well, they learned to make jewelry, stained glass, books (bound by shutterbug.com), beautiful pieces of woodwork. They have 5 children, the youngest is 20. I think it's a wonderful idea and I was so impressed to see the skills they learned to make something meaningful for another family member.
 

Rich Parsons

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At my place of work, each group "adopts" a family in need, there are lots. We buy gifts and or give money so others can buy the gifts they need. Food, clothing, and usually one special gift for the children. These programs work well. I believe in them.

To do it independantly it also a good thing.

It is good to give to those who may not be in a place to do for themselves as well as others can.

:asian:
 
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