Warning : Long Post ahead...
So I'm on my way to work and stop at Rubio's to get dinner for the night. As I walk from my car I hear the smallest voice say "Excuse me". I'm figuring I left lights on or dropped something but when I turn around to meet this tiny brunette 5 foot woman (to my gigantic 5'4", lol) I see she's carrying a box of coffee cups wrapped in celophane filled with candy and such.
She lost her job and is trying to raise money so she can give her daughter Christmas.
I stop her there and ask her politely how much? Ten dollars each. I look in my pocket already knowing I don't have it and tell her I don't think I have that much. Sure enough I pull out 8 bucks. She said that's fine, it will help and I take the blue santa mug with the stuffed blue santa sitting inside. I feel bad because she's not getting the full amount and as she says Merry Christmas and I respond the same then I turn to get dinner. Feeling really crappy that I struck a 'deal' (Hey I really only had 8 bucks) I knew I had change in my pocket and turn back around saying so. I had three quarters and some nickels, pennies, etc.
She takes the change and again, thanks me profusely with a beaming smile. She's incredibly nice and sweet and very appreciative and I just feel like an ass for pulling out change. Like, I don't know, like it demeaned her all of a sudden. Here is a woman who is taking control of her situation and making the best of things, finding a way to make the money for her family rather than sitting with a hand out expecting things to just happen (like many do, especially this time of year) and I feel like by giving her change I took that away. I know rationally there's nothing wrong with it but I felt like a jerk for shorting her two bucks and then compounded the matter by giving her spare change. I wish her the most spectacular holiday and all the luck in the world for a better new year; where ever you are.
Each time my partner closes on a house, she puts $25 in each of the kids' bank accounts. This weekend we took the kids to the mall and had each of them pick an angel from the tree. They had to spend this $25 on a gift(s) for their angel child. We thought it was time and they were all old enough to learn the other side to Christmas and GIVE.
All excited they went around and around trying to pick who to get what for. My partner and I chose a child as well and once cards were in tow, we took on the mall and the marts and went shopping! They had such a blast and we have really had a fortunate year so it was incredibly important to share that good fortune; we just wanted to pass it along.
Some Razor scooters, Princess Disney Dolls, and Star Wars figurines later (along with six bags of then some) we completed our mission.
Now disclaimer time; I am one of those who do get very caught up in shopping (which I love) and stress over money, time, and sanity until the morning of mornings arrives. It's not about spending the most or anything of the sort - it's being able to provide someone's wish. There's power in that and I do enjoy having power..c'mon, who doesn't?!
Anyway, we did some pretty cool shopping for the kids this year both ours and those angels on the tree - even the bird I picked up for my nephew; I went a little above and beyond this year but it's because I know this is something he will absolutely treasure and it's something he emotionally needs right now. I'm so excited to see his expression - all of theirs.
As we shopped this weekend for Samantha, Jose, Annabelle, Paul, and Ricardo my partner wondered aloud what their faces are going to look like Christmas morning when they see what Santa left for them. I would love to be able to see their joy. That's what this time of year means to me. Is it self serving, ABSOLUTELY - but I also do understand the philosophy of Objectivism - all that we do is with selfish motive; EVERYTHING! So, just roll with it and as long as someone else can benefit then so be it.