As the end of the year draws closer, it’s unfortunately simple to lament over what the catastrophes of the past year have taken from us. Events were cancelled, friends and family were separated from each other or lost forever, and it seems like normalcy has become a foreign concept, an idea from ages ago. The one thing that any tragedy can’t topple, however, is the joy and unity of the holidays. That’s why this December, it’s more important than ever to give to others, as the kindness one displays to fellow man will be integral in the process of healing from heartbreak.
During the holidays, giving isn’t strictly exclusive to buying physical products. Media and advertising has convinced people, especially teens, that the joy of Christmas is all about buying and possessing expensive “stuff” rather than giving from the heart as an act of humility. The reality of the Christmas spirit is that giving can happen in any capacity, whether it be through traditional gifting, through charitable work, or by showing compassion and kindness to others, especially to those who don’t possess as many advantages.
A great example of “true” giving can be observed through projects like SkillsUSA Autotech’s “Give a Child a Smile” program which refurbishes bicycles as gifts to needy children in Seminole. This displays a clear message about the true nature of the holidays–sometimes true giving involves sacrifice and hard work. These sacrifices always pay dividends through the joy they instill in others and the satisfaction they give to those who perform them. Projects like student council’s Toys for Tots campaign or a church giving program are ways simple gestures carriy vast amounts of meaning to recipients.
Simply showing compassion during these difficult times is a beautiful gesture that carries as much impact as any sort of present one can give. One can simply greet students or staff in the hallways with joy as a meaningful signal of appreciation. Offering to help a student or teacher in need even in the simplest ways is not only a sign of appreciation but also a much-needed way to take a burden off someone’s shoulders.
The common, unifying theme is that none of these actions have an expensive price tag. Those deceived by the world will claim that the only way they feel they’re contributing to the holiday spirit is by purchasing and consuming, but this cannot be further from the truth. Simply performing an easy act of kindness would teach this. Today, when the world feels devoid of order and balance, all of these simple acts carry so much more weight.
It is indeed an unfortunate truth that this year has taken more than it has given. Thus, the responsibility of giving has fallen upon us as human beings, and it is our absolute duty to reverse what has been taken from us tenfold. This is not an act that can be carried out without the intentional will to spread joy. Although the holidays may look a bit different this year, the core messages of Christmas should never, ever change.