Rows of gifts at the Family Giving Tree warehouse.

Master your gift giving

If you belong to a church group, your kids are in boy scouts/girl scouts, or some similar groups, you might have your volunteer schedule for the holidays covered.

If you are still looking to give back this season I might have an idea for you.

Holiday Wish Drive cards from Family Giving Tree.

Have any of your coworkers displayed Family Giving Tree wish cards? Please grab one of these cards and give the gift of giving. I know that some large companies in the Bay Area have cards like these in the reception area and you would drop off your purchased gift with them.

You can also lead a drive. This means you will pick up these cards from Family Giving Tree and post specific wish cards in a well-traveled area, or give them out to your coworkers, friends, or family members . Then you would collect the gifts and drop them off at the warehouse. I don’t know why they don’t call it something like elf helper? 

Little girl wrapping a gift at the Family Giving Tree warehouse.

Since 1990 the Family Giving Tree (FGT) has provided more than one million gifts for Bay Area children, low income families and seniors. Their promise is to give an exact gift. If a person only gets one gift in the Holiday season, an exact gift, something he or she really wanted, can make all the difference.

Little boy playing with the gifts while his dad is wrapping gifts at the Family Giving Tree warehouse.


Last year I answered the call of FGT to help out at a warehouse in Santa Clara to wrap gifts. This was a two hour shift in a cold warehouse, but you just joined some people, made new friends, and shared some scissors and wrapping paper and off you went to beautify these gifts.

It was amazing to see all these volunteers; the volume of gifts warmed my heart.

Please consider volunteering this Holiday season.

Help in the garden

Help in the garden

Fava beans from the Forge Garden, Santa ClaraGardening is always the top tip of every happiness blog. If you don’t have the opportunity to work in your own garden you can volunteer at the Forge Garden, which is part of the Santa Clara University. Volunteer hours are Wednesdays 1 pm – 4:30 pm or Fridays 9 am – 11 am, just drop in. You should be prepared to get your cloth dirty, wear sturdy shoes and bring water and sunscreen. The monthly Forge Fridays Cooking in the Garden is designed to bring the community together by harvesting, cooking and eating together. Check out their website on all upcoming events. Chicken coop at the Forge Garden, Santa Clara

They also let you wander around the grounds Monday – Friday 9 am to 5 pm. Check out what’s growing, say ‘hi’ to the chickens, admire the beehives and the aquaponic system. The farm stand is open on Fridays between 11:30 and 1:30.

If you like to learn more about gardening you can attend one of their workshops. Up front you can find a book and seed exchange.

What is on top of your happiness list?

 

Marchers at the Womens March in San Jose on January 21, 2017

Ask what you can do

Last Saturday way more than 1.5 Million all around the world took to the streets to show unity against the new government that threatens so many of our American rights.

Whether this was your first march or, like one sign read: “I can’t believe I’m still marching for this!”, this marked a new beginning.

Now the question arises: What’s next?

Get involved

I think the first step to keep the momentum going is to organize a group of like-minded, get to know your neighbors and/or volunteer in your community. The greatest strength comes from compassion.organize

10 different actions for the next 100 days – form the official women’s march team
The indivisible guide
– lets you search by zip code for groups in your area

Next steps salon –  a web site to help on community building

100daysaction.net/ Bay Area artists response to Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office

Find your cause and volunteer

Volunteermatch.org

Idealst.org

Handson Network

 

Contact your representatives, get virtual active and vote

www.house.gov/representatives/find/ – find out who your representative is and contact them with concerns

Call the halls – a guide to citizen advocacy

There are a lot of campaigning communities, here are few:

Avaaz

Sum of us

Move on

Change.org

Stay angry. Care. Be compassionate.

Or like  Aziz Ansari put it in last weeks SNL Monologue: “[…]if you look at our country’s history, change doesn’t come from presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people. And if Day 1 is any indication, you are part of the largest group of angry people I have ever seen.

 

What is your next step?