Why We Always Give to Those in Need at Christmas
Having been the recipient of community help as a needy child, it's very important to me to help others during the holidays.
While we donate things off and on year round, I always make sure to donate new and used toys and clothes during the holidays because I know what it’s like not to have much. I may not be a minimalist and buy too much for my own kids, but I want to help other kids have presents too.
Recently, I read a discussion about whether or not needy children should ask for expensive Christmas gifts. Reading that seriously brought tears to my eyes because it brought back memories from my own childhood. The holidays are the worst time of year to be poor—not because of selfish demands, but because of the pressure to feel normal. When there isn’t enough money to get a tree, decorate, have a special meal and get presents, it is not always easy to explain to young children.
Children who excitedly write wish lists for Santa.
Children whose friends talk about what their family does for the holidays.
Children who feel left out or ask for basic needs to be met as their presents.
Times were hard for my parents when I was little. Work was almost always slow for my dad during the winter which meant he was usually laid off during Christmas. A few years, I remember him working special assignments on Christmas for holiday pay. My parents always tried to make it special. There were times we received assistance. At least once for presents that I’m aware of, probably a few more times than that.
Having been the recipient of community help as a needy child, it’s very important to me to help others. Each year we give to a select few organizations. Some years we are able to give more than others. This year we were able to donate a lot of new toys.
I like to bring my kids along so they see charitable giving from a young age. I believe the best way for me to encourage them to continue giving to those less fortunate when they are adults is for us to set the example. I talked with my 3-year-old daughter about giving toys to other kids who don’t have very many and we will continue to discuss it as my kids grow up. She was excited to help, but wanted to drop off toys on people’s doorsteps instead of the donation site.
Next Christmas we will start a new tradition of adopting a family for Christmas, where we shop for everyone and assist with groceries for their holiday meal. My hope is that they will each continue this on with their own families.
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