The real meaning of Christmas is too often lost in our overwhelming commercialization of the traditional holiday spirit of giving.
Today’s ads on TV and in newspapers urge spending. They want everyone to go out and buy, indulge in big meals, attend festive holiday parties and celebrate Christmas as a time of self-indulgence and selfish pleasure.
This year, as usual, we’ll celebrate with family and friends and exchange the traditional gifts and good wishes. However, we should also consider helping other people share the happiness of the Christmas spirit by spending time with them. Decide to make your holidays more meaningful and give the gift of yourself. Suggestions:
1. Volunteer at an inner-city school. Bake cookies for the kids or participate in a fund-raiser bake sale. If the students are teens, while they enjoy your cookies, talk to them about safe holiday driving and other daily situations.
2. Check with local hospitals and nursing homes where volunteers are needed to help in holiday events. Be a walking or wheelchair companion to get patients to dining and holiday activities.
3. Volunteer with a local church or social agency to be a visitor to elderly or other shut-ins. Of course, consider doing it beyond the holiday season, as well as offer to perform necessary shopping and household chores.
4. If you live in a big city, volunteers are always welcome at homeless shelters. Serve meals and provide companionship for troubled families. Check on other activities where you can participate to help them enjoy a happier holiday.
5. Even if you don’t have a loved one currently serving in the Armed Forces, volunteer with the USO, Salvation Army, Red Cross or other agency. Prepare and send packages to members of the military in the U.S. and overseas. If you live near a military base, help those who can’t be home with their families to enjoy the season.