Who knew that my son was born on National Pancake Day? Maybe he did, but I didn’t discover it until I read tonight about IHOP’s promotion. According to their Web site, IHOP is giving away free short stacks (three) of their famous buttermilk pancakes to anyone who visits between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Tuesday, February 24, 2009.

All they ask is that you use the money you would have spent on the pancakes as a donation to support your local children’s hospital or another local charity of your choice.

In 2008, IHOP patrons raised more than $875,000 for charity during the same National Pancake Day promotion. Their goal this year is a cool, ambitious $1 million. To find the IHOP location nearest you, click here.

Children's Miracle Network

Merry Christmas, one and all!

You know, even though Thanksgiving is set aside in the U.S. as the day we come together to remember and give thanks for all our blessings, Christmas is always the time I really feel the most gratitude well up. We are all so incredibly blessed. How do I know you are blessed? You’re online reading this. When you think about it, even the poorest American is many times wealthier than most people in the world.

Most of us have plenty of food, shelter, clothing, pets, gifts, trees, lights, music, and most importantly, people with whom to share this “most wonderful time of the year.” The gift of gratitude itself is life-transforming. (If you haven’t heard of or seen The Secret, check it out.)

Which is why, I think, the e-mail letter I received from Michelle Obama touched me so much. She shouldn’t have to remind us to remember the less fortunate and our soldiers serving overseas … and yet she felt the need. While I donate regularly to the local foodbanks, I have never made a care package or even written a letter to a soldier. So, although it will arrive too late for Christmas, I will be sending a care package for the New Year!

If this resonates with you, perhaps you and your family will feel inclined to do something similar.

Wishing you and yours the happiest holidays!

Laura

P.S. – If you happen to come across this post today (posted Dec. 25, 2008, 832 a.m. PDT) or tomorrow, keep checking back. The plan is to keep posting all year – including directions for how to make a great stocking!

MICHELLE’S LETTER

Laura –

This holiday season, the grassroots movement you helped build can make a big difference for those in need.

I hope you will join me in supporting your favorite charity or contributing to causes that are especially meaningful to me and my family.

While many of us will spend the holidays counting our blessings and sharing dinner with loved ones, millions of people around the country won’t be so fortunate. Donating to your local food bank will help provide a holiday meal to people in your community who can’t afford one.

Talking with the families of deployed troops was one of the most rewarding experiences I had during the campaign. Giving to Operation USO Care Package is a great way to send members of our military stationed around the world a reminder that someone back home is thinking of them.

This is a time to celebrate our blessings, the new year, and a new era for our country. But it’s also a time to come together on behalf of those who need our help.

Thank you for all that you do and have a very happy holiday season,

Michelle Obama