December is a big month for philanthropy. One third of annual giving takes place in December. Almost a third of non profit organizations earn 50% of their funding in December.
My mother was a member of the Junior League, the PTA, and PEO, and spent countless hours volunteering. The Junior League’s mission has always been one of women’s empowerment and social reform. The PTA and PEO are organizations that support education. My mom helped establish a consignment shop with all profits going to women and families in need. She worked tirelessly at my school by creating a streptococcal throat program that reduced complications such as scarlet fever and rheumatic fever.
Strep Throat transmission was ultimately stopped by weekly throat swabbing and the use of penicillin in positive cases. Recalling the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, scarlet fever was very common amongst young children, in fact, there was a pandemic between 1820 and 1880 in North America and Europe.
Both of my parents gave of their time to help those less fortunate. I was raised with the adage “it’s more blessed to give than receive”. It’s always been convenient to drop a couple of dollars in change in the Salvation Army’s red kettles, this year, I try to think ahead and have cash specifically for that purpose. In this current cashless society, the Salvation Army of the District of Columbia has introduced a credit card donation icon. The Salvation Army donations always stay local which I think is important.
Boxing Day is traditionally a day in the United Kingdom where the wealthy gave their servants a box containing a gift and food as well as the day off. Today December 26 is the day to eat leftovers and relax. For most of us, Christmas isn’t really a day off as there is so much preparation and clean up. Many people spend December 26 shopping the Christmas sales.
Growing up in Wyoming, I spent the day after Christmas skiing with my brothers. We always received a new ski jacket, sweater, pants or mittens for Christmas so we were eager to try them out on the slopes. The snowpack was perfect, there was always plenty of powder, sun shining, and very little wind. We would ski all day. My dad would pick us up and we’d drive down the mountain to delicious homemade turkey soup.
This year on Boxing Day, I plan to sit in front of a fire, drink tea, knit a little, and read a new book. Soup will definitely be on the menu.
Kate Emery General is a retired chef/restaurant owner that was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming. Kate loves her grandchildren, knitting and watercolor painting. Kate and her husband , Matt are longtime residents of Cambridge’s West End where they enjoy swimming and bicycling.
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