TALK BACK: In The Spirit of Giving

Due to a series of last minute cancellations and miscommunications (on my part, not theirs), Whole Foods gave me a Thanksgiving dinner, complete with turkey and all the trimmings enough for TEN people.

Weeks before Thanksgiving, I was invited to a press event promoting their holiday menus, but I had to cancel the day before due to a sick kid. I sent my apologizes and thanked them for including me in the first place, expecting nothing else in return.

The PR manager wrote back to invite me to another tasting the following week, but due to a mix-up that couldn't be helped, it was canceled at the last minute.

I had a prior commitment that same day which ran longer than expected, so it actually worked out for me. Yet, as an apology the PR manager generously offered me a gift card to go towards my family's Thanksgiving celebration.

"Apology for what?" I thought.

Through no merit of my own, I was invited to a *free* event where I would have dined on sumptuous food. Plus, I would have had to cancel anyway. "No apologies needed," I replied.

More mix-ups and cancellations ensued for various reasons and I eventually ended up getting a huge prepared dinner gratis... and I mean, more food than my tiny bird children, my husband, and I could eat in a month (much less one meal).

So in the spirit of the holiday, I phoned my parish priest and asked him to find a family in need who could use this gift.

Although everything was sealed and clearly marked with where it had came from, I didn't want the recipients knowing who was giving it to them. I was very clear about not wanting credit or recognition. I wasn't looking for a pat on the back.

Very simply, we have been blessed with so much and we had this to give. It wasn't even some huge sacrifice for us, but I hoped it could help a family who otherwise would have gone without a Thanksgiving meal. In fact, I feel guilty for not giving more.

On the other hand, I did want to make a big show of it to my children as a way to teach them about importance of gratitude, community, and charity. So the day before Thanksgiving- a day no one should be taking small children into a grocery store- I hauled them with me to Whole Foods to pick up the meal consisting of a browned twelve-pound Diestel turkey, sage-sausage stuffing, classic cranberry relish, creamy, buttery mashed potatoes, gravy, dinner rolls, and a pie. Absolutely mouth-watering!

We carried it out to the car together and drove it to the church. Although it would have been easier to have the parish admin meet me at my car, I made my kids walk with me into the parish office and personally hand everything to the priests. All along the way we talked about what we were doing and why.

My children are still very young, but I can tell that in some small way this moment has made an impact on them. I hope it's a lesson that stays with them.

I'm grateful to Whole Foods, not only for their generosity but for this opportunity to teach my children the spirit and joy of giving. However this is something I'd like to carry over in our everyday life and I'd love to get some of your ideas on how.

Do you have any daily or regular rituals to have to teach your kids about giving? Is there something special you as a family do during the holiday season?

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Disclosure: As stated above, I received a holiday meal and a gift card from Whole Foods Market as part of a promotion for their holiday menus. I was under no obligation to write a review nor was I compensated in any other way. The views and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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