Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Gift of Giving

From Casual Brunch to Formal Feasting and everything in between, Holidays are the time of celebrating, getting together with friends and family, but before I share a recipe or two... a two hour power failure made me realize just how much I take for granted... running water... electric power to cook and enjoy all the techno toys we own... a great home protected from all the extreme weather.   From that extreme... no matter how short, it was a great reminder of just how fortunate I really am... to the other extreme of holiday gift shopping with hordes of people at the malls, buying a bazillion gifts and spending a fortune... more often than I care to think, putting them further into debt.

Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities in 1859 and his opening paragraph could have been written yesterday....
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair..."
World economies are collapsing, unemployment is high and yet shopping malls are full of people buying gifts for friends and families.  And so often I hear the question..." What do you buy for the person who... has everything/wants nothing?"   Are you the type who gives gift cards?  Apparently more than 80% of them go unused.  Or are you the type who buys a gift that will ... best case scenario... be "regifted" or sit in a cupboard or garage until the next lawn sale they have?

I have the perfect solution... one that's a win/win for everyone.  With so many people doing without this year... Make a donation in their name to your favorite charity.   Not only will your donation make a difference to a total stranger in need, it will put the spirituality front and center in the Holiday Season.   

You can... 
  • send a card in their honor to a charity of particular importance to you or whoever you're sending holiday wishes to.  (One of my favorites is FEED NOVA SCOTIA.) 
  • host a different kind of party where, instead of Host/Hostess gifts... how many bottles of wine or funky gadgets do we need anyway?... have your guests donate to a charity of your/their choice or even a change jar at the door.   Admission = the loose change in pocket or purse.  
  • volunteer at a community food drive or soup kitchen
  • check out websites & Facebook pages of wonderful organizations that will donate money for every click/like you do.   Kraft Canada donated $50,000 to food banks across Canada,  Red Rose Tea donated 10,000 pots of tea... and there are many more wherever you live. 
  • bring your canned goods & cash to local food drives
  • join a Habitat for Humanity project
  • visit a lonely senior and bring a home cooked treat ( a couple or more of frozen dinners would be appreciated)

And since holidays center around food in my world...and with all the pre-holiday stress of shopping and cooking and baking for those upcoming feasts... here's an easy recipe for some intriguing
I so named them because the secret ingredients come from very different parts of the world... Saigon Cinnamon - which have a very distinctive scent and flavour - think red hot cinnamon candies as opposed to the more traditional cinnamon I associate with hot chocolate and apple cakes, etc.... and Ancho chili pepper, from Mexico, which I think of more for savory stews and chili dishes or as a grilling rub.    It takes less than 10 minutes to make, 10 to bake and 10 to cool.   .. a perfect "kick off your shoes and chill" break in between holiday tasks.  

1 comment:

Joanne said...

I love these ideas for how we can give back and give thanks for the things we have! Definitely what the holiday season should REALLY be about.

I LOVE the sound of these cookies! Hot cinnamony...sounds awesome.