Opinion

My gift list this year – help others | Keegan Prosser | Reporter's Notebook

Last week I was watching TV with my 12–year–old cousin when he asked me a burning question:

“What do you want for Christmas?”

“Nothing,” I responded.

And for the first time in years, I honestly meant it.

Being the youngest of three children, I’ve been getting presents from everyone else in my family since I was born – usually with the understanding that, “Oh, Keegan’s just a kid – she can’t afford to buy gifts.”

In recent years, it’s been less about what I expect under my Christmas tree. Rather, it’s been about what I can do for others: giving change to the Santa standing outside of Safeway, buying a coffee for the person behind me in line – or helping my mom pick out gifts for families in need as part of her school’s “giving tree” program.

If you don’t know what a giving tree is, it goes a little something like this: families who cannot afford to buy presents for Christmas register with a school (or company, or organization), and if accepted, submit a list of things they could use this year. From there, the school (or company, or organization) write the items on pieces of paper and put them on a Christmas tree – with the intention that community members select a piece of paper, purchase said item and bring it back to be gifted anonymously.

This Christmas marks my 23rd on this earth. It also marks the first time I’ve been (more or less) financially independent from my parents – a fact that has made this whole “spending money on useless gifts” thing even more real.

So what do I want for Christmas?

I want my family and friends to skip spending money on dumb trinkets I don’t really need. Instead, I’m asking them to spend it on a little girl who only dreamed of receiving that One Direction CD. Or a little boy whose never had his own basketball. Or a mom and dad whose only wish is to see their kids smile.

Because that’s what the holidays are really about.

 

Staff writer Keegan Prosser can be reached at 425-453-4602.

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