The pandemic procedures are going to change a lot about the upcoming holiday season from visits with family to capacity for Mass to end of year offertory collections to helping those in need. A close friend of mine is the Angel Tree coordinator for our parish and we’ve been discussing creative ways to meet the needs of the children who benefit from Angel Tree gifts as well as abide by safe procedures.
Our solution? An Amazon wish list. All of the gifts from our parish’s tree benefit one organization that provides specialized, round-the-clock care for children and adults with intellectual developmental disabilities and delicate medical conditions. This year’s “tree” will be a link to an Amazon wish list with the organization’s address in the ship-to field. While this is going to be a little more work to sort and wrap things before Christmas, it will ensure that the residents are safe as well as the givers. It eliminates the need to go out shopping risking exposure and also includes the parishioners who aren’t yet ready to come back to the parish.
An online wish list or registry is a great idea to coordinate any of the upcoming donation efforts. An organization I love that supports the homeless in the community used one throughout the pandemic to get the extra supplies they needed from tents to sleeping bags to applesauce packets.
If you’re thinking of Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner donations, consider gift cards to things like Instacart or another food delivery service. These tools aren’t just for convenience, they’re really helping those around us who are most vulnerable and in need!