Open Your Heart

Thanks to Julie Ovenell-Carter, travel writer on These Boots, I have two passes for the Butchart Gardens to giveaway.   The passes are for two adults to see the Magic of Christmas display and rides on their new Rose Carousel for this holiday season!  If you love travelling in Canada you’ll want to check out Julie’s site and bookmark it or subscribe to her feed.

Read below on how to enter this giveaway.

*You can get an idea of the carousel experience by checking out the video*

Christmas is just around the corner and I thought it would be nice to have a holiday theme giveaway to celebrate the season of giving. Specifically I’m focusing on celebrating giving to others who have nothing to offer us but perhaps a simple thank you.

I’m interested in hearing about what you are doing this holiday season to show strangers that you care and how you are opening your heart to those in need.  Share and you could win!


– Residents of Victoria, BC & surrounding areas who are of the age of majority.  The prize DOES NOT include transportation.  Please do not enter if you are not able to get to Butchart Gardens on your own to redeem the passes.


This giveaway will run from December 13th, 2009 – December 17th, 2009 MIDNIGHT PST.  Winner’s name will be drawn at 6AM on December 18th, 2009.

By entering your comment you are giving me permission to share your feedback in my blog and giving me permission to post your name and initial if you win.


Reply to this post with a comment on how you are showing strangers you care and/or what you are doing to help a stranger/strangers in need.

It can be something simple because I do believe that a little goes a long way!  For example:  Helping someone across the street or helping a stranger with their grocery bags.  Taking care of an injured animal or person in some way.  Helping someone with directions.  Visiting with someone who has no family and isolated in a retirement home.  Just some examples to help get you started!
*If you have an account please make sure your contact info is accessible so I can notify if you win.  If you don’t have any account please leave your contact info in your post or email me with the info*

ONE COMMENT ENTRY PER PERSON.  You may comment more than once but only the first comment will be counted as an entry.  You must make a comment to gain initial entry and then you can gain additional entries by using any or all of the methods described below.


1.  Go to Twitter & tweet this:  I’ve opened my heart & want to win! #photographyelf

2.  Subscribe to my blog

3.  Comment a photo that you like on my Flickr

4.  Post about this giveaway in your blog and post the link in a reply here or send me the link via email


Selection of winner will be done by a random barrel draw.  Winner will be notified within 24 hours of drawing and contacted via email.  Their name and last initial will be posted in my blog.

Good luck!


17 thoughts on “Open Your Heart

  1. I am opening my heart this Holiday Season to help others by Donating 3 Stockings full of Avon goodies,gloves, chocolates and personal items for a local youth shelter for Christmas.I have also donated several gifts to a family in need for the mom and 3 children.Donated a HUGE bag of clothes for charity and I have committed to baking cookies for the homeless and helping with the Street Angels project.Blessings and Merry Christmas!

  2. Here’s how I’m opening my heart this holiday season.

    I’ve made stockings stuffed with goodies for Sandy Merriman House, and donated to the #yyj Twitter #fooddrive I helped organize to benefit local Victoria foodbanks.

    I was a kitchen volunteer for Santa’s Pancake Breakfast run by the Burnside Gorge Community Centre.

    Finally, I’m carolling with a group of friends at a local senior’s residence.

    Thanks for running this contest.

    Blessings of light and love during this season.

  3. I’ve made several donations to the food bank (and still putting together more) and am looking forward to my stint as a Street Angel with the Victoria Visionaries, putting together and handing out treat bags to the homeless. 😉

  4. We (my husband and I) open our hearts everyday by doing our best to be present, loving and respectful to everyone. Throughout the year (especially around Christmas) we add cash to our grocery bill that goes to local food banks. Finally, my husband is in a band that plays old time music for various non-profits. They are particularly busy doing volunteer gigs around Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!

  5. This holiday season I have donated to the food bank and helped my work collect donations at our staff party for the food bank.

    Throughout the year I try to help as well, as I believe in Karma. I continuously donate clothing to the WIN stores, Big Brothers & Sisters and the Diabetes Clothesline, and will most likely be doing another donation before the holiday season is over once I purge my closest again.

    During the downpour we had a few weeks ago, I gave an elderly lady(at least 65) a ride in my car a few blocks from where I was going. Despite her insulting me and my friend for our the music we were listening to at the time(hiphop..which I turned down almost to zero, while she was in the car to be respectful) for the entire ride, I still drive her and tried to make pleasant conversation.

    I also often meet people at parties or gathers who need someone to listen to, and always lend an ear to their problem. I’ve been known to give my number out to girls I meet who are troubled or heavily into drugs, and let them know day or night they can call if they need to.

    I don’t have the cash to donate a lot of the time, but I try to be there for people whether I know them or not, if they need someone to talk to or just sit and listen.

    (I also tweeted about this entry)

  6. I am happy to work in an office that incorporates giving to the community all year long and even moreso during the holidays by doing 50/50 draws, bake sales, gift basket draws, etc. This holiday season we are supporting the Mustard Seed, SPCA, 6 children (ages 1 -13) and 2 seniors. We are also collecting food, clothing, toiletries & toys for hampers. This type of work atmosphere is not only good for the charities, it creates a positive team environment for us! Happy holidays 🙂

  7. I would like to nominate my parents, actually, for their generosity within the community throughout the year.
    They regularly give rides to people (often shut-ins) so that they can attend community luncheons, court cases they are struggling through, & the like.
    My Dad takes the time to get to know individuals who are down on their luck – even if he just meets them on the street – often taking someone out for a meal or making a point to ask about their story rather than just giving them change.
    He’s been known to make friends with people this way & keep checking in on how they’re doing for years afterward to offer what support he can because he genuinely cares about their well-being.
    My mom has volunteered with many charitable organizations over the past few years; often stuffing envelopes & doing the kind of busy work no-one else wants to take on.
    I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful family, who I know I can not only count on for personal support through hard times, but who will also set a wonderful example for me & those around them by helping people they don’t even know simply because the need is there.
    Happy Holidays one & all!

  8. Thanks for hosting this contest. This holiday I’m opening my heart by volunteering at the soup kitchens and holiday dinners for the homeless. I am also taking two strangers in for Christmas dinner because they have no where else to go and I don’t believe anyone should be alone and hungry during Christmas. I donate clothes and food year round to charities. My family came from a very poor background and I like to help others who have less than I do. I’m employed as a community support worker and don’t have much money and my donations are time and service. It is my way of giving back to the community and doing what I can to help improve life for others.

  9. This year I am in a unique position. I have never been a person with a large income. In fact most of my life I have struggled with financial hardships, but I was always able to share something of value (be it financial/food/ or a gift of services or my time) to those less fortunate then myself.
    This year i am the one in need.
    Therefore i am doing something that i never really understood would be so difficult to do. This year i am opening my heart to a stranger to receive help…It is difficult to not feel ashamed, and yet i know from being someone who in the past was able to give that I never wanted anyone I helped to feel ashamed of their own predicament in needing such help.
    I am hoping that this year, by opening my heart to the help that has been offered by strangers, that i will be able to bring some happiness to them in their helping. i am hoping that the joy I felt in giving to others myself will be felt by those who are helping me.
    This year I really do believe in Santa Claus. Thank you.

    • Scarlette,

      Sorry to hear that you are not having a good go this holiday season. I truly hope that things improve for you and your boys soon. Grew up very poor & now am the working poor;am rich in many ways besides money though. Really understand the daily struggles;like counting food vouchers & going to the food bank. We wouldn’t have had Christmas the first 3 years in Canada if it weren’t for charities and the kindness of strangers. Don’t ever be ashamed to ask for help! All of us need a helping hand every once in awhile and it is not shameful to ask.

      Have you put in a request to the Christmas Bureau? They help people every holiday season. Also would suggest posting a request on the Victoria Visionaries board with what kind of specific assistance you need; we do what we can to help out. The only kind of assistance we can’t provide is financial; hopefully in a few years we’ll be able to change that. Another place you may be able to find some assistance is the Single Parent Resource Centre; if they don’t have what you need there they are good at referring you to resources. Also depending on what area you are in I may have some resources/contacts for you to find more assistance in your area during hard times. Not a miracle worker but will do what I can to assist.

      Unfortunately I can’t process your post as an entry as it’s more of a holiday wish & it wouldn’t be fair to the other contestants who have shared selfless contributions which is the focus of the contest. Hope that you understand & maybe you can enter one of my future contests that doesn’t require this type of contribution.

      ~ Qué

      • I do understand Que. I thank you for your thoughtful response and for hosting this contest to begin with.
        Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  10. There are so many ways to give. I think a lot of us look automatically to our bank accounts and think we don’t have much to give. But as some have commented above it can be as simple as giving our time our our unwanted clothing. We are luckier than we think,those of us with roofs over our heads and food in our bowls. It’s easy to get caught up in the conspicuous consumption that pulls hard at our consumer society and people get greedy. Particularly at this time of year. I’d love it if the question of what constitutes giving and how can we give more took up more of our mental space at ALL times of the year!Next time that “crazy”person on the street walks up to you and wants to start a conversation how about giving them some of your time? That’s humanity!I hope everyone has a good holiday spent with loved ones whoever they may be:)

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