Letter: Don't judge others for their holiday giving

Posted 11/26/19

To the editor:

I was the kid without. Without new clothes, without name brands, without enough socks. We didn't always have heat or electricity. But my friends did. As did the majority of other …

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Letter: Don't judge others for their holiday giving

Posted

To the editor:

I was the kid without. Without new clothes, without name brands, without enough socks. We didn't always have heat or electricity. But my friends did. As did the majority of other children around me. At least that's how it felt.

As an adult, I organize a number of charities and events — one of them being Operation Santa. The objective of OS is not to supply necessities to the children of struggling families, but to give them a great big wonderful holiday. Three hundred sixty-four days of the year, these kids watch those around them have what they need, and many, what they want. One day or season a year, I want them to be able to feel what others feel. I want them to be excited, and joyous, and know that winter holidays aren't just commercial, but truly about giving — gifts, happiness, love.

So, when I see "concerned" comments in response to others who are also trying to provide for underprivileged kids, I find myself frustrated. 

OS, Giving Trees, and the like, are not about unpaid bills and empty refrigerators — they are about children. Can we help with those bills and the food? Certainly. But, fulfilling wish lists is not about judgement or giving conservatively based on a child's home life. It's about granting wishes. The wishes of children — young to teens. And teens tend to want the things that their peers have (we don't escape this in adulthood, either). If a child puts expensive clothing, sneakers, makeup, or video games on their wish lists, it's because that's what they actually want. It's not up to us to teach them what they should want and what they should have. It's not even up to us to provide those things. But judging children for wanting to feel on par with their peers is unreasonable, and not at all the spirit of the holidays.

You do not need to give to underprivileged children. But do not ask others to give less because you don't think those children should want things they wouldn't otherwise have access to. 

If food is your priority, gift grocery cards … to the parents. And leave the wish lists to those who can give without judgement or expectation.

Tinsley Kampmier-Williamson

Barrington

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.