‘Tis the Season


With Thanksgiving behind me, I’m turning my thoughts toward Christmas. Nothing to me says the holidays quite like the Salvation Army red kettles outside the stores. I don’t know about you but I can’t pass one without dropping something in. But in these rough economic times I’m sure many organizations’ coffers will see a decline. By the way, I saw in the newspaper that the Salvation Army is installing debit and credit card machines at some of their kettles for those people who want to give but carry little cash with them. That may sound strange but I suppose they’re fighting tooth and nail to be able to keep their doors open to the homeless and less fortunate. Desperate times call for desperate measures I guess.


We’re all familiar with the generous hearts of Oprah, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett. But there are thousands of ordinary people who do their part to touch lives.

I saw on T.V. the other day where a man in California is going around passing out money to homeless people. That’s a true American.

In the Old West there were notable people like Molly Brown who took up various causes and not only donated her own money but got others to do so as well to help the poor.

The giving wasn’t confined to society’s wealthy though. One story in particular that I read lately told of Molly Burdan (or Molly b’Dam as she came to be known,) a prostitute and madam who lived in Murray, Idaho in the 1870’s. Molly worked tirelessly for those who were destitute. The beautiful woman had a heart of gold and a penchant for giving. And when the town had an outbreak of smallpox, she rolled up her sleeves and treated the sick and dying. She even recruited her girls as nurses. When Molly died, thousands of people came from the surrounding area to bid her farewell. The entire town of Murray shut down for her funeral. They still celebrate Molly’s life every August and she remains their most illustrious personality.

Then there was a scarlet lady by the name of Silver Heels in Buckskin Joe, Colorado who carried food and candy to the orphanages. She also nursed the sick and was willing to grubstake miners. And when the Chicago fire happened in 1871, she held a benefit and raised almost two thousand dollars to provide food, money, and clothing for the victims.


Who says charity is limited to those whose lives are aboveboard?

I have favorite charities I give to every year without fail–Hospice, the Salvation Army, and the Children’s Home of Lubbock.

Will you give this year? Do you have your favorites or just give wherever your heart leads?

And don’t forget our Cowboy Under the Christmas Tree that ends December 6th.

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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

26 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season”

  1. What a beautiful, heartfelt post, Linda. We support our local rescue mission and the Salvation Army as they feed and tend the homeless.
    Livestrong and Children’s Cancer, Defenders of Wildlife and the SPCA. I wish I was a jillionaire so I could do more.

    I have a heartwarming story for you all. My husband’s firebuddy has a grandson, 19. He saw a homeless man with a dog being tormented by some kids. He gave the man a ride to a pet-friendly motel, where he paid for a night so the guy could shower, then emptied his pocket, apolgizing that he only had 20 bucks left. Sigh. There are good people out there!

    Merry Christmas to you all. I try to put some change in every red bucket I see. oxoxoxoxo

  2. Linda,

    This touched my heart. There are alot of people who could give. I am like you I have to put something into those kettles as I pass them.

    I was driving last Christmas and there was a homeless people standing with their children by the interstate and I gave them some money, not much but what I could spare.

    I do not have alot of money and I struggle alot but I have somethine that money cannot buy and that is my wonderful husband who spoils me rotten, he rubs my feet every night, he cooks for me so I have some more time to write,and he always tells me he loves me and my wonderful kids whom never leave home without saying “Love you Mom” Now that is worth more than anything.

    So, Merry Christmas to all out there but remember having somebody to love you and to always be there for you is worth more than material things

    I entered the contest Linda I hope I win

    Walk in harmony,

  3. Hi Tanya,

    What a neat story about your husband’s firebuddy’s grandson! It makes me feel warm all over. There are compassionate good people out there who do what they can to relieve human misery. It takes everyone doing whatever they can, not just one person. I really want to go see that movie, THE BLINDSIDE. It’s a wonderful true story that’s come to life on the big screen. Sometimes Hollywood does get it right.

    Have a wonderful blessed day!

  4. Hi Melinda,

    Glad you enjoyed my post. We all have to do our share no matter what it is. Money doesn’t matter when we open our hearts. Sometimes we can volunteer and give that way.

    Good luck on winning the contest!

  5. This is a nice blog, we had to go down to Walmart’s last night and there was a Salvation Army lady sitting out in the rain taking up money, now that is decation, that is who I will give too, alone with anyone that I can help with food.


  6. Beautiful thoughts, Linda. I remember the story of Calamity Jane risking her life to nurse miners through a smallpox epidemic.
    Like you, I can’t pass a red kettle without putting something in. My sister and I give charitable donations in each other’s names for Christmas. Since we went to Africa together and saw the results of Heifer International, that’s where our donations usually go. And for my daughter, who died in an accident in 1985, I give an annual gift to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, because I know that would please her.
    Thanks for a lovely blog, Linda.

  7. What a wonderful, heart warming post, Linda. But then it comes from a lovely lady, who always has her heart in the right place. It sure made me stop and think. Two years ago, I shared a special day with three of my grandchildren, all preteen at the time, as we went down to Faith City Mission and they worked in the kitchen and then served dinner to the homeless before coming back to our house and having our family dinner. That was a blessing, and I think all of the kids got a better understanding of not having a home to go to or a family to be with on a holiday. Linda, thanks for giving us food for thought. Love, P

  8. Loved this post Linda.. I am a giver, I can’t go by a Red Kettle for the Salvation Army. I always keep lots of change in my pocket or purse and I always give them an annual donatio too. I also give to Toy Mountain one of your Christmas gift drives for the kids.. I also give to out Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and to The Make A wish Foundation.. IF it’s to do with kids, I always try to donate. I always give to the local food bank.. I try to give back whenever I can.

  9. Throughout the year, we buy toys here and there to save up for our local Holiday toy drive… we feel like santa when we hand over our bag of toys! 😀

  10. Love Silver Heels. I want to know more about her.
    Great post and a great reminder of what Christmas is all about. I can’t pass by a Salvation Army bucket, either, and we have a system in Memphis where, when you check out at a grocery store, you can add $1, $2 or $5 to food the hungry. One dollar will buy a meal for one person, $2 for a family. I always donate every time I grocery shop. Other than that, my favorite charities are St Jude’s Hospital for kids with cancer and Best Friends, the largest animal protection group in the country (they saved the abandoned Katrina pets).

  11. Hi Edna,

    Bless you for your giving spirit. Taking care of those in need can bring so much joy and satisfaction. After all, that’s what Christmas is about. And not only at Christmas but all through the year however you can.

  12. Hi Elizabeth,

    Your post made me cry. I’m so sorry you lost your daughter. But it’s great that you remember her by giving to the animal sanctuary. Animals and children are so vulnerable. They need all the help they can get. And it’s wonderful that you and sister give in each other’s names. We should really do that instead of buying gifts for each other. Bless you for your giving spirit!

  13. Hi Phyliss!

    Thanks for coming by to post a comment. Glad my blog touched something in you. I think all children should be taught to give of themselves. It’s wonderful that you could teach your grandchildren that life isn’t all a bed of roses and that there are desperate people out there who need help. President Obama and Michelle firmly believe in donating time and energy to help the poor. And I believe that we have to give back some of the good fortune we’ve been blessed with.

  14. Hi Kathleen O,

    You have a loving giving heart. I think we have to give back for the things we’ve been blessed with. Seems like the more I give the more the good Lord sends my way. It’s just amazing. And you’re right. The children and the animals are at the top of my list of donations. Lots of children have been hit with burdens too heavy for their small shoulders. If we can help them some that’s what we need to do.

  15. Hi Colleen,

    Yes, giving of ourselves does bring such joy and satisfaction. I love that warm feeling that comes over me. It’s like a drug and I want to do more and more so I can keep having that feeling. Bless you for your big heart!

  16. Hi Patricia,

    Silver Heels’ story touched me too. It doesn’t matter what a person’s station is in life, they can always give to others in need. I’m sure the town looked down on Silver Heels (who got her name from a pair of shoes she always wore) and didn’t have much to do with her. That makes her story so much more touching. Some of those ladies of the night had big hearts. In fact, they probably helped the needy and sick more than the upstanding men and women if the truth was known. I’m glad you help the children and animals. God Bless you!

  17. What a wonderful post. I’ve always said the poorer people are more generous with their time and even their money. Too many weathly are that way because they hold onto their money (of course there are exceptions). Lately my husband and I have been working as a volunteer at our local Legion. One special project is spending months preparing for a party for the children. They all get a wonderful gift from Santa.

  18. Hi Linda,
    What a beautiful blog! Oh yes, we give all year long. But at Christmas especially, we have our favorites. American Cancer Society, Make A Wish Foundation, Operation Gratitude, for our soldiers abroad, Breast Cancer organizations and so many more.

    I’ve been seeing so many homeless people lately and just had a conversation with a doctor’s wife, who says she never passes up a person on the street, without giving them something. One man was too proud to take money, so she bought him lunch. I know we’ll donate to our local food bank this year, there are so many in need.

    My aunt would collect for the needy and she’d go into bars and strip clubs and her son would question the “why” of it? She’d simply say, “There’s goodness in every person.” Your story today reminded me of that.

  19. Hi Linda, I know it’s Christmas when I hear the Salvation Army bells. Even in the freezing cold, those men and women are out there brightening the season for all of us.

    My favorite charity is something called “Jill’s House.” It’s an organization dedicated to helping families with children with special needs. It’s in northern Virignia and affiliated with a local church. Jill’s House provides respite care so that moms and dads can have some time alone to regroup and refresh, and so that siblings can have time with their parents. I forget the stats, but a HUGE number of families with special needs kids break apart. It’s a joy to support them.

    Thanks for the wonderful post. May we all be inspired to be givers!

  20. Hi Jeanne,

    I do think the people who open their hearts and give the most are ones who don’t have a lot themselves. They truly know what it’s like to do without. They’re just more appreciative of each day’s gift. God bless you and your husband for your work at Christmas! Children are what the season is all about. They look at the world with such wonder and it’s magical. If you can help them hold on to that you’re doing wonderful work.

  21. Hi Kay,

    I’m glad you enjoyed my post. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I want to do my part to ease someone’s burden. I’ve been so blessed and want to give back. I hope you have a glorious day.

  22. Hi Charlene,

    Your aunt sounds like a very special person. We’ve become a very judgmental society I’m afraid. But I too believe it’s crucial not to judge someone until we walk a mile in their shoes. And some of the most seemingly unlikely givers have the biggest hearts. That’s just amazing to me. Bless you and your husband for your practice of giving! You’ll be rewarded.

  23. Hi Victoria,

    Yes, those Salvation Army volunteers are out there in the worst weather, never shirking from their job. They truly believe in what they’re doing. Jill’s House sounds like a very special place and worthy of your efforts. Bless you and your husband!

  24. Linda, lovely post. I have always believed we are so fortunate, that we should share what we have and give of our time. Our children grew up volunteering and now that they are on their own, they continue to be involved with worthy programs. Our oldest daughter walked in the Breast Cancer 3 day walk in DC last year. She was on crutches for a week or so afterwards (she twisted her knee), but she finished and raised a nice amount of money.
    We work with Catholic Charities, my husband has built over 30 bookcases for our library, and we help supply the clothes closet at the local VA home which supplies the residents and homeless veterans. This year our church angel tree has three times as many children listed as it did last year. We took 2 girls and 2 boys 10 to 11 years old. I have an 11 year old grandson, and he will have a lot of fun helping me shop for them. We don’t exchange many gifts within the family. We help each other all year long and get little gifts for each other when we feel like it. The children will get gifts, but the focus of the day is church and getting together as a family.

  25. I try to do my “giving” closer to home. My parish
    church adopts 125 families each year and provides them with food baskets and toys for the children.
    Parish members and their families raise funds, assemble the baskets, wrap the gifts, and deliver
    everything to those in our area “who need a hand.”
    The parish also hosts a Christmas party attended
    by residents of the Magnificat Houses here in the
    city. Some 120-125 persons enjoy a dinner, choirs caroling, and visiting with parish members. I participate in these activities each year.

    Pat Cochran

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