THE BLOG
12/12/2014 01:40 pm ET Updated Feb 11, 2015

The Joy in Giving

It is the time of year when everyone is wishing for and thinking about gifts; we
are inclined to think of things we like to have ourselves. It is a game of search,
of preparing to give others a surprise, not all are material things. Yet a trip to the sun, if we live in a cold climate, or a skiing holiday, then again a journey to China, a longed for far-away place to learn to understand the mystery of that country, a donation for a special cause in a friend's name, a great bottle of wine, a book, a music album, a watch, a piece of jewelry, an iPod, a computer, or even a jar of home-baked cookies, maybe some of these are on the list. The choice is endless, maybe not the pocket-book. It is the thought that counts and is valued.

Yet the greatest gift of all is love.

Love for a purpose like creating the Holiday House in Manhattan. The idea for the Holiday House started about seven years ago and was founded by Iris Dankner. Iris had the vision to embrace the creative process to show an environment we all enjoy... a beautiful home. Engaging various interior designers and artists to share in this vision was the ultimate goal and this goal had a deep-seated reason. The proceeds assist in the research of breast cancer healing. Every year for the past seven many designers have been part of this joy in giving, providing an enchanting environment in this extraordinary house in the heart of Manhattan. It is magical and brings together in masterly décor and coordination some of the most celebrated artists and decorators in its walls. Panel discussions of some of the most learned people in this field of art and design enrich the experience.

When asked about breast cancer Iris approaches the subject openly and speaks about it. Having been diagnosed with breast cancer many years ago, she feels strongly that early examinations can and will prevent the disease from spreading. In her search of finding a venue for her own creativity and also to find people who share her passion for this idea, she is fulfilling it in the Holiday House. The occasion of the joy in giving is the foundation for this subject of preventing and healing. Many of the talented designers from across the country and some from Europe, have been enthusiastic and have been part of the celebration of design from the beginning. The Breast Cancer Research project was started by Evelyn Lauder in 1993 and Holiday House has grown to be an important partner in fighting this disease and is producing great results. It is a shared mission. Some of the talented interior designers, like Michael Tavano or Louis Navarette, are present as often as possible to answer questions and have a most joyful demeanor. Some world-renowned names are part of the vision like Baccarat or Fendi and many other highly acclaimed designer and artists. A pristine white-tented space located at the center of the House, displaying photos of many survivors and a seven foot bronze sculptor by Gwen Marcus, called

The Tempest stands tall as if he is protecting them.

In the conversation with Iris Dankner one expression returns over and over again: a gratitude for all that others have done with her and for her. There are many things we can offer to those around us, believe it or not, many of these gifts are free to be given. Give time, knowledge, share experience, give support give a friendly hand, listening to someone's needs, all these are of great value to others and is part of enriching one's own life and it is part of the Joy in Giving.

Asked about her Joy in Giving Iris Dankner includes: "I feel strongly about giving back, assisting others who helped me emotionally in a very significant way. By giving support, hope and inspiration and by showing them, that you can survive, even thrive. This gives me a feeling of deep satisfaction and joy, by helping women and men who are going through what I have experienced. It is a way to thank all the people who helped me."

"We make a living by what we get,
We make a life by what we give"
Sir Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965)