Make It A Family Tradition To Help Other Families

I’ve always been a Christmas guy. Meaning, I’ve always been part of a family that put much stock in Christmas. I’ve also always been part of a family lucky enough to fill our table with a full Christmas dinner, a Christmas tree with overflowing presents underneath it and plenty of love to spread around. Since having kids, we’ve had the opportunity to continue those traditions.

In Ottawa there are many people celebrating whatever holiday it is they celebrate and many of those families have plenty of the love to go around but maybe not enough of the rest. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was our kids who pointed out to us that not only is that not right, but that it isn’t right for us to do nothing about it.

So this holiday season, I encourage everyone to do something to make another family’s holiday season a bit more comfortable. It doesn’t have to be anything monetary, it could be as simple as holding open a door for someone carrying gifts through a door. Trust me, being someone who goes through periods of up and down emotional stages, something as simple as a smile can change a person’s day.

If you would like to make a financial contribution, there are plenty of organizations out there to help local families celebrate with their loved ones. Many of these organizations are smaller ones that rely on the generous donations of families who can and would be thrilled to have your help.

My personal suggestion is to make this part of your own family tradition–start teaching your children from young age that it’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of everyone else. Let them help you hold the door, let them put some change in a collection jar or let them put a non-perishable food item in a collection bin. I promise you’ll all feel better and a family you might even know will be able to put something on their table this holiday season.


This story is courtesy of Mike Reynolds from the blog Puzzling Posts. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.

Caring Sharing Exchange

The Caring & Sharing Exchange – Sponsor-a-Hamper Program

The Caring and Sharing Exchange has introduced a new initiative as part of their nearly century old Christmas Exchange Program. Starting this holiday season, members of the Ottawa community can now deliver Christmas directly to local individuals and families in need through the new sponsor-a-hamper program. Sponsors are able to purchase supplies for a hamper, pack it themselves, and deliver it directly to a family in need.

“We are very excited about the addition of this program,” said Cindy Smith, Executive Director of the Caring and Sharing Exchange. “This is a very tangible and personal way for people to give back to the community during the holiday season and with the Exchange’s unique Co-ordination Service all donors can rest assured that there is no duplication of service.”

The Caring and Sharing Exchange provides Christmas assistance to individuals and families in the form of a food hamper or redeemable gift voucher. Last year, the organization’s Christmas Exchange program received requests for assistance from close to 25,000 individuals. Unfortunately, despite the generosity of the Ottawa community, they were able to provide assistance to less than half of this number, leaving thousands without.

“We hope that by offering our supporters another way to give, we will be able to assist more people this year,” said Smith. “This is a way of giving back that allows for a family, business, team or group to get involved and to be assured that 100% of their support goes right into direct assistance.”

Because this organization receives such a large number of requests each year, it allows the sponsor-a-hamper program to offer donors the option of choosing the size of family they would like to make a hamper for. This ranges from an individual or two person household to families of 6 or more. It also allows for the option of making a hamper for seniors.

“Last year, more than ten percent of those we assisted were seniors,” said Smith. “We feel that giving donors the option of choosing to support a senior or seniors in need will be one of the things that make our hamper program unique.”

If you would like to register to sponsor a hamper (or hampers!) this holiday season, please fill out an online registration form available on the Caring and Sharing Exchange’s website at, or e-mail for more information. You can also make a monetary donation online in order to help this charity provide direct food assistance.

Burpee Dad

Thoughtful Big Sister

This is a pretty small story from a proud papa of a kind, thoughtful gesture from a little girl to her little brother. It didn’t move mountains or change the world but it did show me how pure and kind a child’s heart can be.

When my 4 year old daughter was younger, long before her brother was born, she was enamored with the Toy Story movies. So much so, Santa brought her Buzz and Woody toys one Christmas. The part she was most excited about was writing her own name on the bottom of their feet like Andy did in the movies. I happily obliged, grabbing a sharpie and writing her name across the bottom of one foot on both toys. Over time she moved on to other toys and other movies and much like in the movie, Buzz and Woody were somewhat overlooked for a period.

When her brother first saw the Toy Story movies, it was love at first sight. If possible, he was even more fixated on them than she had been. He held those Buzz and Woody toys so tightly in his little hands I thought they would snap in half. He never wanted to let them go. While the concept of sharing her toys was new to her and they were still working on reaching peaceful agreements in this area, she never got mad at him for using her toys for the most part. I could tell she was a little more hesitant to part with Buzz and Woody even though she didn’t really play with them anymore. I caught them wrestling over them a few times but she’d usually let him win.

One day as we were getting ready to leave the house she came walking around the corner with Buzz and Woody in her hands and an odd look on her face. “Dad, I have something really important to tell you.” she said and came right up to me. Assuming she was going to tell me she wanted them back, I leaned down preparing my arguments. “Can you get a marker?” “I think we should write Mason’s name on Buzz and Woody’s other foot because he loves them so much.” Boom. Floored. Fighting back the unexpected welling up in my eyes, I hugged her tight and told her that was the nicest thing I’d ever heard anybody ever say. And I meant every word.


Today’s story is from Rob from Burpee Dad. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.


Very Lucky

This story is about kindness that we received.  It was the first year of the iPad craze and I received one for Christmas.  We left on a holiday south and the iPad of course came with us.  On our trip back we had to make a connecting flight but with a couple of hours to spare, we pulled out that Christmas gift in the airport and surfed the internet to kill some time.  Needless to say the iPad got placed on the seat next to my husband and we walked away, leaving it sitting there.

Neither one of us thought about that iPad because we each thought the other one had it.  On the way home in the taxi after landing we realized that we no longer had my Christmas gift and I was devastated. We arrived home and our answering machine was flashing and there was a message from Jet Blue that my iPad had been turned in and to contact them so they could send to our home.  I was so blown away that someone found it and turned in…renewed my faith in people.


Today’s story is from Kathy. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.