It’s the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!
OUR THIRD ANNUAL HOLIDAY HANDS!
A few years ago – I was sitting on my couch, eating noodles and watching a news story about families struggling to buy holiday gifts for their children. Some said that preparing their usual Christmas dinner would not be an option, because they didn’t have the money for the turkey and the stuffing and the yummy desserts. Some said they couldn’t buy gifts because that money was going to pay for the heat bill. One man said he just wanted to buy his wife a little necklace, a little something to show her how much her work at home and the office meant to him, but he couldn’t. There just wasn’t any extra. None.
All of this made me want to stick the fork I was holding directly into my eye.
Then I started thinking about how there are probably many Monkee families in these situations, and that made me want to put my fork down and start brainstorming. Because no way, Jose. Not on our watch. Not our Monkees. We might not be able to fix everything, but we can do some things. We can not allow the fact that we can’t do it all to keep us from doing what we can. We- each and every one us us- are more powerful than we care to imagine. Each and everyone of us is a WORLD CHANGER- whether we admit that to ourselves or not. With every breath we take, every thought we think, every word we say and every action we take or don’t take- we are changing the world for the better or worse. And when we do something senseless out of love- when we cross over those silly boundaries like ME and YOU or MINE and YOURS – when we take a stranger’s hand and say I DON’T KNOW YOU- BUT I REALLY DO. YOU ARE MY SISTER AND THAT’S ALL I NEED TO KNOW. HOW CAN I LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD? When we do that- we change that sister’s perspective of other people and of the universe and maybe even of herself. And we change OUR perspective. In that one action- we become the people we’ve always wanted to be and we begin to live in the world in which we’ve always wanted to live. One in which WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER and LOVE WINS. And that, my loves, is what the holidays are all about. They are about bringing slices of heaven to Earth. And heaven is just a place where the illusion of separation disappears. There is no me or you or mine and yours left. We are all ONE. And the thing is that we decide whether we live in heaven or not. We decide.
And for those who are like: GOOD GRIEF, G ENOUGH WITH THE HEAVEN AND THE ILLUSIONS AND THE WORDS, WORDS, WORDS, (I’m looking at you, Bubba) here’s the bottom line:
I’d rather my kids get three holiday gifts and your kids get three holiday gifts, than my kids get six gifts and your kids get no gifts. That’s the truth here. And the truthier truth is that Holiday Hands is not really about GIFTS FOR KIDS. It’s about revealing to their parents that they and their children are SEEN AND VALUED AND LOVED. That’s what it’s about. It’s about proving that there is no such thing as a stranger – and that there is NOBODY who is truly alone.
I figure that everyone reading this has a need this holiday. Some of us don’t have enough this year. These Monkees need a hand buying gifts for their kids. Some of us have a little extra this year. These Monkees need to reach out to other families and share, in order to wake themselves up and connect and really experience what the holidays mean.
And some of us have just enough. These Monkees need to sit back and cheer us on and say hopeful and grateful prayers and witness some miracles, to keep believing in people and love.
We all have needs. When we don’t share our needs, out of pride or fear of rejection, we deprive other people of fulfilling their needs. Sometimes we need to receive and sometimes we need to give. Seasons change. So please decide which type of Monkee you are this year, in this season of your life, and participate accordingly.
Monkee See Monkee Do is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with an all-volunteer Board. Our Board and our givers work all year long to meet big and small needs of families all over the world. Every day we work to match needs with resources.
HOLIDAY HANDS is the time when strangers help other strangers provide holiday cheer for their family. Holiday Hands is not a program that seeks to solve big financial problems, it is a program designed to celebrate small things with great love. It is specifically designed to help provide for the holiday needs and wants of families so that they can put the funds they would have spent on gifts toward other needs.
PLEASE READ THESE GUIDELINES. THEY ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER THIS YEAR:
First – Please read and reread and rereread the instructions and before posting questions.
Second – This year we have added a cap of $100 on each request (per family), to emphasize that this project is about small things with great love.
Third –Requests may be submitted to us for a limited time. Right now the plan is to keep submissions open until the evening of Friday, Nov. 15, but we may close requests before Friday evening if we reach our Holiday Hands capacity early. Requests will not automatically be posted when submitted and just because a request was submitted does not mean it will necessarily be part of our Holiday Hands program. Rather, we will be collecting and reviewing requests for a few days and then we will post the final, approved requests that will be part of Holiday Hands on Monday, Nov. 18.
This is an example of a request that fits within the Holiday Hands guidelines:
I recently lost my job and Christmas is going to be tough for us this year. My kids (7 and 9) love to do art projects, and I am hoping to get them some art supplies this year.
They would be excited to get some new markers, paper and paper, or something fun like this would be really wonderful:
And here is an example of one that does NOT fit within the Holiday Hands guidelines:
We need $500 in gift cards.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SECOND EXAMPLE WOULD NOT BE APPROVED BECAUSE IT IS NOT LIMITED TO GIFTS AND THE TOTAL OF THE GIFTS EXCEEDS $100.
Fourth – If your need this year is to reach out to other families and share — in order to wake yourself up and connect and really experience what the holidays mean — Please, please, please meet us back here on Monday (11/18) to review the requests and find your family match for this holiday season.
WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER. LET’S PROVE IT. To join in our holiday hands miracle, start here.
**** FRIDAY UPDATE!!!!
HOLIDAY HANDS UPDATE! PLEASE READ!
It’s brutiful over here, friends. The Holiday Hands needs that are flowing in are holy and hurt-y and many. Please, PLEASE gather your giving-est friends and prepare them for Monday. I have faith that we can pull this off- but we’re going to need you to show up. Love is showing up.
Structure Liberates- and the added structure to this year’s Holiday Hands is helping making this a better and truer experience for all involved. Please work within the structure ($100 max per request) while also trusting us enough to tell us what you really need, even if what you really need doesn’t look like a traditional holiday gift. Our goal is to create holiday CHEER- and CHEER is a wide, encompassing word. So if you need warm coats for your babies, if you need some extra food to put on the table, if you need a gift for your husband or girlfriend or a new pair of eyeglasses for your granddaughter – tell us. As always, we are working hard to ensure that the law of LOVE supersedes any other institutional rule.
We are reading every single request with the tenderness and diligence and with the weight of this community’s generosity and trust on our shoulders. But that weight feels more like a warm, comforting, swirly, hand knitted scarf than a burdensome load.
We are loving this community with our whole bodies, minds, and souls- and Monday is going to be magical. Please, please – gather your Love Warrior Troops at Momastery Monday morning.
G and TWMF