Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Musings...Birthday Lessons

Turning 40 is something I've been looking forward to for a long time. Yes, I'm turning 40 and LOVING it!!! For some reason, in my mind, the fabulous 40's have magic fairy dust attached to them (:

The past couple of years have been very challenging for our family. My father passed away, then my grandmother last Christmas Eve with my other grandmother passing a few days later and we almost lost my mother. This time has greatly shown me what is truly important in life. It's not what you have, who you know or what position you hold. Life is about legacy and the love that is shared. I've been blessed to learn so many life lessons from the cracked nuts called my family (:

So in honor of those who have gone before me, I'm continuing a birthday tradition my mother started back when I was in college. Instead of having parties where people bring gifts for the birthday girl/guy, a charity is chosen and guests are asked to donate items for that particular charity. People can either bring a monetary donation or items that the charity might need. For the first of year our new tradition we chose the local Ronald McDonald house. A meal was prepared for the families staying there in honor of the birthday girl.

This type of party also frees up any gift giving anxiety (I don't experience this, but many people do). Your friends may be limited on funds but the spirit of giving can still be experienced during tough economic times. If your charity is for a homeless shelter, then your guests can prepare like we did or perhaps go through their closets and bring clothing they no longer use (or maybe several of their most cherished pieces). If your charity is the local animal shelter, guests may have extra blankets or animal products on hand to donate. If your friends and family only have $1 to spare, then that's $1 any charity would be thankful to receive. It's not the amount of the gift, but the intent behind it.

This idea is also a great way to begin teaching your children the art of giving. Discuss several charities, how they help others and allow the children to choose the charity for their party. It could even be a themed celebration. The kids could come dressed as their favorite animal if the charity is for the local animal shelter or they could dress up as their favorite book character if you're donating to the library...the options are endless!! Have fun with it!! Halloween shouldn't be the only time of year to don your favorite costumes (:

I'm using this same idea for a Christmas party this year. We'll collect items and cards for the troops and then spend the evening packaging the goodies and writing letters to our men and women in service.

So, how will you celebrate this year? Just remember, you are the gift to those around you...go forth and share your light (:


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