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The Christmas Contest is here!


That's right, it is time!

First, a Merry Christmas and may it be a blessed season for each one of you. Turn on some Christmas music, pour yourself your beverage of choice and reflect on all you have to be grateful for. Like the t-shirt says, "Life is Good."

Now, on to the contest. The Thanksgiving Contest went so well :facep:that I thought we would do it again. I know, I have lost my mind - absolutely lost my mind - but my scorecard is ready this time. Ha, ha!

Recap - two winners will be selected by random.org. Each one of those winners will then select an entry to also be a winner. So there will be a total of four winners for this contest. This is CONUS only please. Each of the four winners can select one item - ANY item from our store right here: All Products — Captain's Choice - https://www.captainschoicestore.com/all

Here is how you enter: Tell us about a memorable time that you gave. This does not have to be a Christmas gift but it can be. It does not even have to be a physical gift. Giving takes many forms - sometimes it is your time, sometimes your abilities. Once in a while the person who got the gift never finds out who gave it.

So tell us the story and describe what happened.

We will let this run a bit and then engage random.org to pick.
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My buddy has a nephew who’s a little special needs. He takes the kid from his brother and go’s out to the range to plink with him on the regular. It’s pretty much the only time the kid leaves the house other than school. Definitely the only time the kid hangs out with anyone other than mom or dad.

Covid being what it is, has seen buddy and kid seeing each other less and less, moreover my buddy who’s too stupid to listen to me when I said there was going to be an ammo shortage, and too cheap to buy when he finally did see it coming, ran out of ammo quite a while ago. So they haven’t gone out in a while.

I heard about how my friend was going to go hang out with his nephew but had nothing to do being he couldn’t take him to the range - and even if he could, he had no ammo from his girlfriend. So I texted my buddy and told him to go to my little lot with the kid and to bring his .22s. There he found a box of 500 rounds and all the steel targets I had for them to plink on.

I hear the kid had a great time!! It really made my day.
Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of having to navigate the intricacies of the bureaucracy that is surrogate's court in my state, can attest to what a nightmare it is, especially for unrepresented people. So when my aunt and her husband passed two years ago, I took it upon myself to help her three sons with the estate process (no will). This was completely outside my field, but through trial and some error I managed to do it all for them, pro bono. It felt good, and I hope my aunt smiled from heaven.
Not in this time. A memorable time my wife and I gave was last Christmas. We did extra Samaritan Purse Christmas boxes. They help children in hard environments, providing bibles, toys, and educational materials. It was fantastic to get a few extra out the door.

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Most of the gifts I give aren’t things, they’re acts of service. Most of the time they’re tasks the average person never even thinks about but they’d notice only if it weren’t done.

One of the largest group projects of that type I got to be involved is was shortly after we moved into our current neighborhood. There was a community movement to revamp the small corner park the area had that had been run down for a long time...very symbolic of the state the neighborhood itself had been in for the longest time. Minus some days of prep time and final touches by professional companies, in a single day, hundreds of volunteers ripped out the old stuff and completely overhauled that park into the focal point it is now. My part was mostly carrying supplies to where they were needed and hauling many, many hundreds of pounds of ground covering by the tarp-full, to cover the play yard. Now (at least pre-COVID) I get to watch families enjoy that park every time I look out my front windows. 👍

Thanks for another great PIF Scott!
Respectfully not in

This is more my wife giving than I, but I will share anyway. @Lightcs1776 mentioned Samaritans purse boxes. I believe this story is of the same boxes. If not, very similar. Our Church hands them out to parishioners to be filled and returned. Then they go to a center "hub" thing to be added to other churches' boxes and shipped to children. They are a bit tricky because there is rules to follow. No tooth paste may be the weirdest one. Anyway, they go overseas to families who have nothing. School supplies are one of the things most packed. Socks also are big. So this may be my wife's favorite "act of service" of the year. Her face just lights up as she shows me the things that she has packed and planned into these boxes for these children. I love to see her smile and I wish she could see the kids smile who receives it, as I am certain they do. The church piles them all up at the front of the sanctuary before they are loaded to ship out. We pray over them together as a church and send them on their way. Hopefully full of more blessings than the meager physical contents of the box. It is most definitely a moving experience for all involved.

Hat is off to the Captain as always. A special nod to all those out there giving/serving. Spread it around folks, it is contagious.


Respectfully not in either. My cup runneth over, and the missus is starting to look angry! That said, my favorite giving came out of boredom. I had worked at a daily newspaper for 22 years when I was laid off (very common in the industry). I was rocked to the core and wondering what to do now. I applied and applied, tried to make as many in person visits as I could and nothing was happening. After a month of treating job applications as a full-time job with no success, I was frustrated. I decided I had to something productive. I called the local United Way and asked if there's anything I could volunteer doing. Within 2 days I was on the phone soliciting business donations in-kind for an upcoming event. Things were wonderful. I showed up every morning to their building, sat at my desk and started calling on businesses. The unfortunate side effect of putting yourself to use in this world, is I was called to a paying job within 2 weeks of starting. One of my co-workers at my previous daily was also laid off and landed a job at a small paper nearby and found space for me.
White elephant party at work. I have a problem with gifting in that i really want to get something that i put consideration into and thats really hard when its 30-50 people participating with a $ constraint.

i spent quite a while finding something unique and interesting, but universally appealing… I thought i did a great job and it turned out well enough received but man, the 6 pack/wine or amazon gift card is always the thing that gets stolen.. absolutely the laughs, guffaws are part of the allure and fun of the game but man, its rough. I need to stop putting so much thought into that and just get them a captains choice mug and gift card! 😂

Hannah's Dad

I Can See Better Than Bigfoot.
Before I got married, for about a decade, I would spend Christmas Day feeding the homeless in one of the hotels in downtown Pittsburgh as part of The American Red Cross. They put out a great spread — turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy — the works. It was time well-spent. There’s actually a waiting list to volunteer these days, which is a hopeful sign for our shared humanity.
Every year my family and I pick out people that are needy and surprise them with gifts but we dont just do it during the holidays...One instance was one of the people that works at a place my wife used to work needed heaters so we went out and bought her some of the infared heaters so her family would be able to stay warm..Also we like to help families buy toys or needed thing during christmas because every child deserves to be able to experience the Joys Of Christmas !! I mean ALL of our kids are only kids once so we want familys to enjoy this time of year also......We understand people being more generous during the holidays But the thing is that there are people less fortunate than we are Year Round so we try to help at other times throughout the year too......I think our kids (my wife and mine) are able to appreciate what we have more because they have seen those that didnt have..
Great contest Scott... lets see if this one is as wild as the last 😜 :c9:
The most memorable at this time of year was about 15 years ago when my wife and I volunteered with a group from our church to put on a holiday party/meal at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary, a prison that houses about 1400 inmates about an hour north of Memphis. We had a worship service, sang Christmas songs, visited with the inmates and served a nice holiday meal with dessert. I always think of John Prine's "Christmas in Prison" when I reflect on that experience.

every child deserves to be able to experience the Joys Of Christmas !! I mean ALL of our kids are only kids once so we want familys to enjoy this time of year also......
(Not in... :biggrin1: )

Wasn't going to mention anything but when I read this it changed my mind. Our church helps distribute household supplies to needy families. Lately we have also been delivering winter coats for children that don't have a coat. The families are vetted through the school district and then the names are handed off to the church. These families live in pretty sub-standard places whether apartments or renting an old house.

So twice a month we all gather and I am one of the drivers that delivers the goods. There are about eight drivers or so. Due to Covid we are instructed to just leave the bag and don't ring the bell to hand the bag to the resident. Not long ago I delivered on a nice warm fall day and there was a mom and three children playing out in front of this apartment. I showed the mom the name on the bag and she pointed to herself - it was for her. (English is not her native tongue and so there was a challenging language barrier.) I left it with her and then visited with her children - eight, five and three years old. Adorable, each one of them.

As I left I knew that Santa would be making an unannounced stop at their place. Today I picked up a toy for each of the kids and will drop them off in a week or so.

Like Jaro says, every child deserves to be able to experience the joys of Christmas. Somehow I get more out of it than the kids do, I just know it.
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Respectfully not in

I remember back when I worked in retail sometime between 1972 and 1978. The local fire departments, Sheriff’s office and police departments would select a group of kids who from families with limited incomes and bring them to the store where they were each given some money. Their mentors would shop with them and help them make their selections. Most of the kids didn’t buy toys for themselves, they bought something for their brothers & sisters moms and dads.

It was touching to see a group of kids more concerned with giving to someone else, even when they knew they would get noting.

I was 20 at the time and had a wife and baby girl. We never knew for sure that we would have rent money. I was ashamed to see how much more these kids thought about others than I did.
I used to deliver bags of food to elementary schools, which were given to kids in need. Canned stuff, mostly, and some snacks. The bags would get delivered on Fridays so the kids would have food for the weekend. Some schools got enough bags for 5 kids, and other schools got 50.

There was a warehouse full of food that was donated or purchased with donation money. The bags were put together, double checked so nobody got shorted, and organized for pickup. I would load them into my SUV with the seats folded down and it would fill my car up about half way. I had 4 or 5 schools on my route.

I never saw the students because they tried to keep it on the down low. They didn't want the needy kids getting picked on for getting the food, so I would leave them at the office and the students would pick them up after school.

I did it for a couple of years but had to stop when I got a new job. It was nice having something like that which only took a couple of hours a week.
Just before my children were in their teens, went to a local convenience store and purchased a couple cases of chocolate bars and cigarettes. Went to the local shelter and passed them out. When the kids asked why, told them this was something they would enjoy that was not a necessity, they could enjoy for a day. They were happy for the gifts and hopefully made an impression on my children.
We give to our church and volunteer, but I can think of a couple of instances of more direct involvement where I have had the privilege of blessing some close acquaintances from church. Those are far more special.

The first time was with a friend whose son had severe allergies. He was literally allergic to almost everything and I can't count the number of times they had to rush him to the hospital for anaphylactic shock. They didn't have much because they spent most of their money on his medical bills and testing. When their clothes dryer broke, they couldn't afford a new dryer, and they were afraid to buy a used one due to allergy issues. One of our friends started to take up a collection, but we felt like we should just take care of it for them, so my wife and I sent over the money for a new dryer.

The second one is maybe the clearest I've ever heard God's call. One of our friends' son was born with a heart condition. The doctors actually suggested to his parents that they should abort him. They didn't, and after a large number of surgeries, his original heart lasted 16 years before he needed a transplant. He spent weeks in the hospital while waiting for the donor, and their medical bills were really piling up. The dad was a pastor, and the mom was a teacher, so they were starting to struggle. I'm meticulous with our finances, and I aim to break even on our taxes every year. Due to a spreadsheet error, I ended up getting a few thousand dollars in tax refunds that year. We spent a few days brainstorming all of the house projects that we really needed to spend the money on. Then, one morning in the shower, I felt like I heard God's voice in my head clearly telling me: "Give it all to them. It's extra money that you didn't plan for and you can do without. I sent it your way so you could pass it on to them." So that's what we did. And he did get his new heart and is now thriving.
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