The Charity Stocking

    A while ago Bucky decided that he didn't want any more Christmas presents. "I've got too much stuff already," he said. So he thought up a way to let people give him something that wasn't for him. While he was cooking Christmas dinner with his mother Yo, Bucky went to the blanket chest in the poster bed room and got out a Christmas stocking that had been made for a houseguest one year. Yo has few of them tucked away with all the children's stockings. After all the family had enjoyed their dinner and opened their presents, Bucky made an announcement.
    "Here's what I really want for Christmas from now on," he told everyone. "Please put any money that you might spend on Christmas presents for me in this stocking. You don't have to tell me or anyone how much you're putting in. That's a secret. But please from now on, don't buy me any more Christmas presents. Put the money in here. After Christmas, we'll give the money to a charity.
    "And anyone else who wants to can say that they want their presents to go into the Charity Stocking. But I think it's not fair to just do it. If anyone still wants presents, they don't have to volunteer their present money for the Stocking. And this is just for adults. Of course kids still get presents."
    Naturally Bucky's mother Yo thought of the children, and said in her best dramatic voice, "I still want prezzzents!" That was in case any of her grandchildren might feel that they had to volunteer to give up their presents. Yo always helps.
    The idea caught on with Bucky's family, and now all the adults have volunteered their presents to the Charity Stocking. For the first few years of the new routine, the family had each person pick a charity in rotation. But after a while, they had a hard time remembering whose year it was to pick! Now, Loie goes on the Internet each year and makes a list of several charities, one each in categories such as "Animals," "Hunger," "Children" and perhaps a few more. (She chooses local charities to recommend, because Yo says the donation makes more of a difference to a smaller charity.) The whole family votes on which charity gets the Stocking.
    Everyone seems to like the idea of the Charity Stocking very much. Many times Christmas guests put a little something in the Stocking. The Charity Stocking often collects over a thousand dollars.
    "Besides," Bucky tells everyone, "Now that I've got this system going, I hardly have to do any Christmas shopping!"
    Merry Christmas!