Sarah Lysne: The joy of one precious gift

Published 5:48 pm Friday, November 26, 2021

I have heard many stories over the years of how children were excited about receiving one or two precious gifts from an organization like Toys for Tots. These are children that wouldn’t have had a very merry Christmas without the help of this wonderful organization.

Over the years, I have realized how important it is to give generously to those non-profit organizations who collect toys and gifts for children and families in need. I feel ashamed that one year when I was a child I was so upset that my grandma gave me long underwear for Christmas to keep me warm when I went sledding, nevermind that I had received 10 other wonderful gifts from Santa.

Today, I don’t want any gifts. I know my family will insist on giving me things, but all I want is to live a long and healthy life, as healthy as it can be, and to be surrounded by my friends and family and enjoy their company as often as I can. There are so many ways that we can celebrate the spirit of the season without going overboard in our spending and using so much time and energy to find the perfect gifts. How often do we really remember what we received from year to year? Often, it is the memories we have of the times together and the conversations we had that mean the most.

My sister in law has been enjoying helping others with paying it forward. I think that that is a great idea and we should all try to do this on occasion. Paying for someone’s meal, paying for someone’s groceries, whenever we feel the opportunity is right. It is a great feeling.

Many years ago, I had an opportunity to make a difference for a child. I was at the grocery store and the couple in front of me had their cart full. A little girl sat in the cart. When the cashier gave them the total amount due, they said they would have to put some of the groceries back because they had gone above their budget. They started taking items out of their cart. When they took out a box of cereal, the little girl said “no! no!” and started to cry. I told the cashier that I would pay the balance due. She said “everything?” I said “yes.” I had no idea how much the bill would be, and I didnt have a lot of extra money at that time, but I knew I had the ability to help. The people turned to me and looked stunned. The little girl’s smile returned to her precious little face when the cereal was put in the bag to go home. As I pushed my own cart to my car, the couple waved to me across the parking lot and said “thank you again.” I felt like I did the right thing and I don’t care if I got conned because the most important thing to me was to make that little girl happy.

Toys for Tots is one of my favorite organizations to give to, but there are many churches and other non-profit organizations that are collecting gifts and toys for those in need. You will find one that is easy for you to donate to. Enjoy the gift of giving.  I hope that your heart is filled with gratitude and love this Christmas season and that you can extend that to others as others have extended that to you.