The Only Black Guy In the Office I feel you. No quibbling with any of the points you made.

And I’d like to turn your Secret Santa theme on its head, ‘cause I do a different kind of Secret Santa with a BFF every year that’s my 100% favorite part of the holidays. It’s an act of grace that is frickin’ awesome.

There’s a little town in Northern California where every year, a tiny community-based organization* pairs folks-in-need (“adoptees”) with folks-who-give (“adopters”).

Over 400 households — pre-vetted and categorized as S/M/L/XL [depending on the number of members] and including Single “No Kitchen” Households (homeless) — receive enough food staples from participating adopters (individuals, families, businesses, groups) for several weeks plus holiday treats, gift certificates, and at least one item from their wish list.

Both adoptees and adopters are anonymous, and the Secret Santa assemblages are delivered to (and picked up from) the grounds of a local church with sufficient space and volunteers to handle the complexities of hundreds and hundreds of family-to-family donations.

I live on a modest income, and I know what it’s like to not have a home, so each year I ask for a “no kitchen” person. My BFF and I go to town for our adoptee: we find the most awesome hiking backpack available and cram it full with high-end yummies, toiletries, practical items, treats, and every single gift on the recipients’ wish list. We include a card signed “V & J” and drop it off. Secret Santa in action!

Going all out for someone we’ll never [knowingly] meet is badass.

It’s hard to describe the sheer joy involved. I can’t wait to get my assigned adoptee each year, and pore over their wish list. It is hella FUN to pull everything together, to find silly holiday stuff like tiny Christmas stockings or track down super-warm socks or tinned miniature hams. The point is to be totally creative and generous and loving.

If this ain’t what the Spirit of Christmas is all about….❤️💚🧑🏽‍🎄🎅🏿

*S.T.E.A.C., Short Term Emergency Aid Committee, a group that literally started with a few people sitting around a kitchen table trying to figure out how to help desperate people in the neighborhood. They now provide a whole range of year-round assistance.

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Ethnoecologist and #VanLife Coach exploring humanity, the natural world, and multispecies relationships. More at

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