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Everyone has people they look up to. It could be someone you've known all your life, like a friend, an aunt or a sister. For me, it's the ones I bump into in my everyday life -- complete strangers who are so full of happiness. In life, I always try to be kind, but kindness doesn't mean you have to hide what you think. You really need to learn that you can be kind while still having your own opinion.
Let's all think about why and how Canadians can be encouraged to give their time, talent or treasure for the common good, and then find ways to put our ideas into action. And let's challenge ourselves to become an even more caring nation.
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It seems like a no brainer. Supporting charitable organizations and doing acts of kindness is the right thing to do. Most people get that. My family and many Canadians are very privileged. I feel we have an obligation to give back, to "pay it forward."
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Many Canadians gave online to the ACLU to help overturn the Trump administration's de facto ban on travellers coming from several Muslim-majority countries. The unexpected effect of globalization is citizens feel empowered to act and comment on the actions of another country.
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I say "Bah Humbug" to The Fraser Institute for saying an average Canadian is less generous than their American neighbour. Their 2016 Generosity Index makes Canadians look bad because Canadian give much less to charity. Cash gifts are only one part of the generosity story.
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Christmastime can bring quite a lot of gift-giving angst for many. Whether you have a receiver who says "I really don't need anything this year" or you are just stuck for ideas, it can be hard to shop for all the people on your list.
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For millions of children around the world, life can be a daily struggle. From managing a disability, to overcoming cyberbullying, to escaping conflict, children face challenges many adults couldn't even imagine. But the lucky ones don't have to go through it alone. Meet five sets of friends who remind us what giving truly means.
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Every year, charities reap the benefits of Canadians' generous holiday spirit, seeing a significant bump in December donations. In fact, more than a third of CanadaHelps' annual donations are achieved in this one month alone. While that seasonal generosity is important for charities, there is an unfortunate downside -- as the seasons change and the weather gets warmer, donations tend to dry up, leaving gaps for many organizations. I call this the "summer drought."
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I can feel the shift happening in our family, the shift from it being all about us being together and caring about one another, to Christmas being about caring for others as well. I think this most accurately reflects the true spirit of Christmas, whether we are Christian or not.
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It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- overspending...Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
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I've heard it said that "it's better to give than receive," and I've always joked that that couldn't possibly be true. Yes, I give. I give generously, but I have never experienced such an incredible joy from making someone feel special for a few hours.
There is much commonality between religions in urging us to overcome our attachments to money, property and the material, to give generously of ourselves in as many ways as possible, and to realize that nothing is ours. In many ways, it's a call to overcome our selfish nature and to realize our deep interconnectedness with each other and all of creation.
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Whether it's a simple letter from my husband saying all the things he knows I'd love to hear or a brand new food processor -- thoughtful gifts are ones that say, "You are someone special to me, I have gotten to know you, I want to make your life better with the ability to make beet hummus."
At a time of year where we should be feeling lighthearted, jovial and happy, we are feeling guilty, unhappy and stressed. Keeping our cool this holiday season will require many of us to reflect upon the giving season in a way we have never done before.