By Amy Dickinson
DEAR READERS: Every holiday season I go a little haywire, expressing my outsize affection for candy canes, hideous holiday sweaters and fake reindeer antlers clamped onto the family cat.
I assume my annual Santa crush is a function of growing up in New England and living in Chicago, two lovely but cold, dark and gray places. The holiday season brings twinkle lights into the gloom.
The thing I like the most about this season is how it unleashes the generous spirit. I think of this expression of faith and humanity as the true light of winter.
Every year I publish a column encouraging readers to give generously to support causes they care about. My suggestions are merely prompts meant to inspire you. They reflect my own quirky and individual interests.
This year I am making an effort to “buy local.” In addition to supporting some of these national organizations I will be donating to causes close to home, including building locally for Habitat for Humanity and raising money for my local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Great charities are transparent, show donors where the money goes and don’t just claim how much of their money goes to programs, but report measurable outcomes.
I check out all my recommendations on charitynavigator.org. All receive a top rating.
Fisher House Foundation: This very successful charity is a longtime favorite of mine. “Fisher houses” are large and comfortable homes linked to military hospitals. Family members can move in while their loved one is receiving long-term treatment. fisherhouse.org.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski