A few months ago, I signed up to host a BritMums Carnival. This involves putting the word out, then gathering together a collection of recent posts from fellow bloggers.
Shortly after I volunteered for this Carnival, I started Our Time of Gifts, where I’ve pledged to give something away each week, and write about it. So – especially given that Christmas is nearly upon us – it seemed fitting that the theme for my BritMums Carnival should be ‘giving and sharing’.
People have emailed and tweeted me some fantastic posts, which inspired me to scout for more. And once you start looking, you can see there’s an awful lot of good feeling and generosity among us parent bloggers.
One of my favourite stories was by Head in Book. She describes how she noticed Tweets from a local primary school teacher, saying some pupils couldn’t even afford new shoes for the Winter. This prompted Head in Book to arrange a collection for children’s shoes and winter clothes, then drive the resulting twelve bags’ worth round to her local Food Bank for distribution.
Another eye-catching post sent to me was by The Uncheshire Wife. She blogged about taking some distinctive, stylish items made by people with learning disabilities at the Walton Lea project, to be sold at a local charity Christmas fair. Do go and have a look – the wooden owls are a particular favourite of mine.
Through Our Time of Gifts, and writing regularly about sharing, I’m part of a big tradition among parent bloggers. Me Add Three has been charting her weekly promise to reach out through a random act of kindness each week. The Family Patch has pledged to spend a minimum of ten minutes each day crocheting items to be sold in a charity auction on 15 May. Bringing Up Charlie’s creative writing e-course, reproduced in the anthology Tiny Acorns, is being sold with all proceeds net of unit costs going to Children in Need. Cupcake Mumma, who I mentioned a month ago in my first Carnival of Gifts (after she’d sent a pick-me-up package to Dragonsflypoppy) has just written up the final post of her Year In Gifts, describing her last monthly parcel of goodies. By the looks of things, she’s been feeling a bit blue in the run-up to Christmas, so please do visit her blog and send her some good wishes.
The festive season brings plenty of challenges as well as joy and excitement, and City Girl Gone Coastal wrote a great post urging us not to forget that some people are struggling. She suggests some practical ways to share time and energy helping others.
A common theme through many of the posts I read, was that people often feel they receive more than they give. Mummy Tries wrote a tender-hearted post about how her neighbours helped her family out by giving them a bunkbed, so that the children could sleep more soundly.
Mummy from the Heart has written about the way religion has changed her perception of how she should live; and that giving is – for her – fundamental to her practice as a Christian. And Play and Learn Everyday sent me a post about how she’d been able to teach her child about helping others, by getting him to fill a shoebox with toys for an underpriviledged child.
Actually Mummy used a gift list put together by the Children’s Society, which allows people to buy a present for someone less fortunate than themselves. As well as being a great thing to do, she describes the positive effect this had on her family, and how her children were able to celebrate at home with the small tokens of appreciation sent by the charity.
The Mum Blog bought gifts for children in need through the Save the Children wish list (a great way to let a small donation count towards brightening up a child’s winter). Her blog also makes some interesting points about how, when donating through charity, we should consider whether these gifts impose our own beliefs or viewpoints on others.
I’d like to end on a note that I’ve borrowed from the magnificent A Girl Called Jack. She writes thoughtfully on how we shouldn’t all feel the need to give at Christmas. Presents to friends and family should be offered for the right reasons: as a gesture to show love and friendship, not out of pressure to match tit-for-tat, just to give someone a present of the same value as the one you received from them. Give what you can afford to, and no more. And if people can’t understand this, or think you’re being stingy, then you should make efforts to surround yourself with people who are a bit more understanding.
Reading everyone’s posts has been so enjoyable that I’m considering writing a ‘giving and sharing’ round-up each month, here on The Pigeon Pair and Me. So do carry on tweeting and emailing me your posts.
For more information about Our Time of Gifts visit this page to read about some of my weekly exploits.Google+
- #XmasJumperDay for Save the Children: Our Time of Gifts week 23
- Christmas shopping with a twist: Our Time of Gifts week 24