We Kohlmanns are working our way through our holiday list, and having lots of fun with it. We have been to the Appleton Christmas parade, gotten and decorated our Christmas tree, and we’ve been reading Christmas books and lighting our Advent candles each evening. It’s not on the list, but we also went to see the Christmas displays at our local museum. It’s been a busy holiday season already.
Last night we crossed one more item from the list: bell ringing for the Salvation Army. We’re going to try to take at least one more hour long shift, before Christmas, but having gotten through one hour, we’re calling it a success. Clarissa and Veronica were excellent bell ringers, even if they needed a few reminders to keep their bells ringing. We had more than one person tell us they were putting money in the kettle, because they couldn’t resist the girls.
Bell ringing for the Salvation Army has been part of our Christmas preparations for years. It’s easy and festive. It’s a reminder that there is more to December than pretty Christmas trees, presents, and sending the perfect holiday card. As you stand there, ringing the bell (usually in the cold), you see people who not only walk by, without donating, but with there faces turned away from you, as though you aren’t there. That’s the sad part: people who refuse to acknowledge that people need help.
The happy part is bigger. Seeing little kids all but beg for change from their parents, to put in the kettle. Better yet, seeing kids who pull money out of their own wallets to give away. We see folks who clearly could use a little financial support themselves, who give what they can and apologize that it’s not more. We have seen people who start to pull out a $1 bill, and instead give a $10 or a $20. With Clarissa and Veronica there, we saw adults who got down on the girls’ level, to tell them they were doing a great job, before putting their gift in the red kettle. And most people thank us, for standing there doing almost nothing at all, as they give some of their treasure to those in need. If you need a pick-me-up, I can’t think of many better activities than this.
Please forgive the blurry pictures. The girls ring the bells with their whole bodies, making a clear picture almost impossible.
If you want to spread holiday cheer, and help your neighbors in need, sign up for a bell ringing shift or two, in your town. The Salvation Army has a consolidated website, that makes it really easy to find a location near you: www.ringbells.org