Sunday, November 25, 2012

1912 - The Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving

The Times Dispatch
November 25 1912


The old custom of making Christmas a season for extravagance and peril is changing into a better method.  The tendency to make it one of genuine pleasure is increasing.

The large number of fatalities due to the use of dangerous toys and fireworks is being reduced each year because of reformed ideas for the people see the folly of endangering their lives in the violent celebration of the occasion.

Reform in the extravagance and useless expenditure of money at Christmas is also progressing.

The custom of making presents has become a burden to many who cannot afford it.  This fact has led certain philanthropic women to begin a movement to abolish the custom among those who are financially unable to observe it.

Mrs. August Belmont and Miss Anne Morgan have organized "The Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving," which they are asking working girls to join.

Mrs. Belmont justifies her efforts to correct the evils of useless giving at Christmas by saying that it is folly for a girl earning $5 a week to spend money on Christmas gifts. 

Many people feel that to be just to themselves rather than to be generous to others, they ought not to give presents.  They know that they cannot afford the expense, but they feel that they must give as well as receive.

A holiday season should not be marred by so great and so senseless a burden.  Enforced giving often results in more harm than pleasure.  The capacity for giving is overtaxed.

If we could give in proportion to our capacity, so that there would be no distressing balancing of accounts, the art of giving would be encouraged, and the happiest season of all the year left unmarred.

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