It’s Christmas! Which is full of awesomeness and glitter and also a lot of conflicting emotions and sometimes depression, which seems even worse than normal because it’s a day when you’re supposed to be happy. But that’s okay because it’s just a day, y’all, and I’m giving you full permission to be joyful, or nostalgic, or sad, or to avoid people who make you feel like shit, or to be happy in spite of the fact that the holidays are full of weirdness. I am glad that you are in the world and I’m toasting you right now from my own quiet house. It’s a time to be thankful for the things that are going right in the universe and to lock yourself in the bathroom with a small flask of schnapps when things get overwhelming. It’s a time to dance in your living room to songs that make you happy, or watch zombie movies and eat Chinese food all day. It’s whatever it needs to be for you.
It’s also a good time to remind ourselves of the awesomeness in the world and I’m doing that starting with a quick recap of the 6th Annual James Garfield Miracle.
(That’s James Garfield, above, in his festive finery.)
This year (in just a little over a week) we collectively gave over $85k to help children. That includes giving presents to kids who might not otherwise get them, donating to Heifer International, and giving over $30k to Project Night Night, who will use our donation to put a bag with a stuffed animal, security blanket and a book into the hands of 1,200 homeless children. In the six years we’ve been doing this some of the kids who were helped that first year are now old enough to help others, which makes me feel very proud, happy and also more than a little old. In the last 6 years more than a quarter of a million dollars has been given by this community to help others. No sponsors. No middle-men. No special recognition or fancy graphics or pleas for help. Just people directly helping people because it made them happy.
What the shit, y’all? That’s amazing. My email has been full of awesomeness (which is a wonderful gift to me because I’ve been fighting off a bit of depression myself) but I thought I’d share this one because it’s one of my favorites:
“I cried every night for a week when I realized that an unexpected bill had decimated the plans I’d made to get my kids presents this year. I told my kids that there wouldn’t be much for Christmas this year but that our Christmas present was that we had a roof over our heads and that we were together. They were as understanding as kids could be but I was heartbroken and felt like a failure. I left a comment on your blog hoping that I could get a warm coat for at least one of them and within a day so many people gave help. Packages started arriving this week and it made me cry again. Happy tears. When my youngest asked why I was crying I told her that I’d gotten a Christmas miracle. There are two new coats under the tree for my little girls, plus three toys and two books that I can’t wait to read to them. I was able to thank some people but some of the packages didn’t come with any notes saying who the presents were from so I’m sending you this email so you can maybe pass it on and tell whoever saved Christmas for my girls that they gave me a gift so much bigger than they probably know. Thank you for this grace, in helping me keep them safe and happy and for reminding me that people care. Next year when I’m back on my feet I can’t wait to pay it forward. I will never forget this.”
Thank you, everyone, for another year of craziness and kindness. You are the best kind of people and I’m lucky to have you in my life.
PS. A special Merry Christmas to my parents, sister, grandparents and all my other family members that I won’t see this Christmas. I love you guys more than cheese. We’re with you in spirit.