Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's that time of year again

"If you want to arrange it, this world you can change it. If we could somehow make this Christmas Day last, by helping a neighbor, even a stranger. To know who needs help, you need only just ask." -Trans-Siberian Orchestra, "Old City Bar"

Whether you're of any religious persuasion or not, this is still a beautiful time of year in which anyone can -- and most people do -- show the best they have to offer for their neighbors. Yesterday I saw a cashier at my university's bookstore (typically an evil place, no?) skip her lunch break because she saw that her co-worker had a long line of customers and she didn't want anyone to be stuck in line all afternoon. A teller at my bank (another entity not usually associated with Santa's Nice List) took a few minutes to help me with my Spanish after I told him that my final in that class was tomorrow. It's the time of year when a lot of people remember that giving is really, really, really easy. Anyone can do it, regardless of age, abilities, income bracket, religion, or anything else. I like the little drummer boy; he gave everything he had to offer, even if it was just playing a drum.

So if all you have is a love for video games, there's a place for you too. Child's Play might be my all-time favorite charity. It was started in late 2003 by two gamers who were sick of the way their fellow gamers were portrayed in the media as bloodthirsty monsters, and the project grew into an overwhelming avalanche of gifts that required three separate moves into ever-larger storage spaces. At first they gave to one hospital, now they give to 45. Last year, the gaming community raised over a million dollars' worth of games, toys, and cash contributions. Can they do it again? I don't see why not; at this writing they stand at $851,000. If gamers -- people who are not typically thought of as the world's best philanthropists -- can do that, everyone else can too.

Whatever holiday you'll be celebrating in the coming weeks, I hope you have a good one.

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