Jesus is the reason for the season! Christmas is a time of celebration of Christ and remembrance of Him. Gifts are given, laid under the tree and given to symbolize how the Three Wise Men brought gifts to the baby Jesus over 2000 years ago. As adults there are so many ways we can give of ourselves and by doing so, teach the next generation how to be a giving person.
For children, they often get caught up in the expectation of getting something new, something just for them. I remember when we were children, Christmas came and went so fast, and for the child at heart in me, it still does. Like most kids our age, we made our list and would circle the one thing that we felt like we could not live without. All of this was accomplished while looking at the S & H Green Stamp catalog or possibly the Sears Christmas Wishbook! For those that don’t know, the Winn-Dixie grocery store used to give out green stamps when you bought your groceries. These stamps could be pasted into little booklets and taken to the Green Stamp Store in Greenville to trade in for items. My mother saved tons of stamps each week and we helped her paste them into the booklets. I remember having green hands when we were finished. Mom would take the list, and the stamps and get what was needed, then Santa would deliver the gifts and have them under the tree on Christmas morning. I got the neatest art kit one year for Christmas, and another year a Chrissy doll whose hair would grow when you pressed on her belly button. Those are good memories. Little did I know back then about the sacrifice my mom made and how she worked to create a good Christmas memory for her children. That was her gift to us. Our generation received more gifts than her generation did in the 1940s just after World War II. The South was in a depression. My mom recalls times when they were lucky to get a stocking with fruit and a few pieces of candy.
Today, some parents struggle just like my mom did to create Christmas memories for their children. In the age of excess, we live in today, there are still many who will need help this Christmas season to spread cheer to the children. There are many ways that you can target your gifts to people in your community. Start by contacting your local church or school. As a former teacher, I knew which of the families I served needed help the most when asked. Here in Pickens, we were fortunate to have the Country Santa program that helped deliver toys to needy families at Christmas. In Anderson County, Foothills Community Foundation,
https://foothillscommunityfoundation.org/community-impact/ has the Brighter Christmas Fund and can direct you for ways to give and help families in need at Christmas. Giving back at Christmas just feels good!
As we age, it is important to feel connected at Christmas. While people are spreading Joy and Cheer, others might be stuck in healthcare centers or nursing homes. Then there are the elderly who are living alone, and don’t get out much. It is important to remember and think about all the elderly at Christmas. If you are a senior or know one who seems lonely, there are a couple of senior citizen organizations that could help. Please check out
https://www.facebook.com/acseniors/. Also, don’t forget that Meals on Wheels in your area could also be a resource to provide needed meals to seniors.
As we are nearing the end of 2023, it is time to start thinking about 2024. For me, 2023 has been a year of great change which has caused me to slow down and think about what I need to do going forward. In 2024, I hope to spend time working with the youth and elderly in my community. I hope this inspires you to do the same. Giving back can be more than just monetary gifts. Giving back can be checking on your neighbor or your grandmother or grandfather on a regular basis. Your time is priceless when it comes to sharing it with others and perhaps is the best gift of all.
One gift that you could give is that of your time. Print up a few Christmas time gift certificates and hand them out to those you feel need someone to call on for small things. You never know when an elderly neighbor or relative might need help with something and doesn’t ask because they know you are busy. But, if you give them a certificate, then they will feel like you are more available and open to helping. Canva is a free program that allows you to print off certificates and you can personalize them as you need to.
Other printable gifts can be found online at Etsy.com. If you don’t have a printer, just take index cards and markers and make your own gift vouchers. Get the children in on the act. Have them make gift vouchers for doing an hour of yard work for an elderly neighbor or washing the windows. Maybe you are friends with a young couple with a baby, give a voucher for babysitting services. Be creative and crafty using glitter and colored markers and turn it into a fun project for the kids this Christmas. Show them that Christmas doesn’t have to be about buying things, it can be about so much more!