Holiday traditions? I’ve got a few. Starting with the ancient Weatherford custom of last-minute tree shopping, resulting in a rare fir species known as “75-percent off or best offer” holding center court in my parents’ living room. Growing up, my family and I blasted Luther Vandross’ Christmas album while we decorated our green lady. And after hours of that velvet voice steeping our eardrums, our tree was fully dressed. But some years my family arrived at the tree lot early, and a few times an artificial evergreen was good enough. The same goes for Luther—Christina Aguilera’s "My Kind of Christmas" once usurped him on tree decoration day, and somehow my parents still love me. But one consistent spoke on this festive wheel was the spirit of making this time of year better for everyone, especially to those experiencing the worst. Volunteering through my church and school was always on the holiday menu. And then every year my mom leaves presents from St. Jude’s Children Hospital under the tree. Donation receipts, ornaments, pins, notebooks—things like that. They come from the St. Jude store, where 100-percent of the proceeds help the kids there keep on getting the cancer treatments they need. It's necessary and feels really, really good. Which leads me to why I’ve gathered you all today: How do you like to give back? Which charities are you all about? What are the organizations in your city that could use some fresh volunteers? I’m ready to expand my impact and I’ll come with tunes in tow—everyone likes Mariah, right?
Photo via ITG