Christmas is the season of giving – but it’s also the season of Giving Fatigue. The streets of Fibrotown are awash with perky people in cute outfits collecting for various charities. If they’re not tackling you in the supermarket, they’re knocking on the door of the Fibro. I get that they’re trying to tap into all the goodwill that’s washing around the place, but I can’t help but feel that the goodwill grows thin as December motors on. Stressed-out mum + smiley charity worker = not a match made in Heaven.
Even in the darkest moments of Giving Fatigue, however, there are some requests that make an impression. Perhaps it’s the politeness of the wording. Or maybe it just strikes a deep, family chord.
When the Australian Red Cross Blood Service got in touch to let me know about their Christmas campaign, the resonance was there. Five years ago, Opa, The Builder’s father, lost his battle with cancer and went to what the boys refer to as Opa’s Special Garden in the sky. It is there that he rumbles about with a wheelbarrow, creating the thunder, alongside the angels.
Amongst the mementos of his long and interesting life is a framed certificate. Plain white paper, beautiful copper-plate script. A red cross at the top. It is the certificate he was given for donating blood 100 times. A name, a date, plain words outlining his achievement. But it’s poetic. It says a lot about honour, community and general caring. It says a lot about the man.
I love that certificate. I love what it says about Opa.
Giving blood is giving the gift of life. It’s also giving a legacy. That’s pretty much the perfect gift.
Details of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s Perfect Gift campaign are here.