Christmas is, without question, my absolute favorite time of year. Perhaps it’s simply routed in the fact that it is a time of year in which you see the best in people. Kindness, generosity and compassion seem to soar and people show such love to one another. As blinded as I may be by the beautiful lights that shine throughout the season I do remain painfully aware of the fact that it can also be the most stressful and disheartening time for many individuals and families in our community.
The flipside of that happiness high I ride from November through to the 25th of December is the pain I feel in knowing children will be waking up on a morning that so many of us look forward to all year… without experiencing the magic of Christmas. While I’m pacing my living room at 3am admiring the lights and the gifts and basking in my excitement at the thought of my children’s sweet sweet faces when they see this sight… parents will be going to bed with feelings of inadequacy and deep sadness as the reality of their unfortunate Christmas morning sets in.
Bittersweet. And so unfair.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I was raised in poverty. With thanks to a proactive, shameless Mother who begged and borrowed to provide for us I was fortunate enough to have been able to create some amazing holiday memories growing up! But it was not without community support and sponsorship. Of course some years we experienced more hardship than others but, as a rule, the community was always kind to us. I do remember the stress surrounding the holidays, as well. And I do have such vivid memories of the guilt I felt as a child when not a single gift under the tree had a tag attached that read “Mom”.
Poverty. Damn poverty. Despite a hard working Mother’s best efforts it still found a way to tarnish those precious memories.
We can change that for other families, though! And I’d love to tell you how.
We are running two campaigns over the coming weeks that will provide you with the opportunity to get involved in giving back this Christmas in various ways.
“Community Heroes”: We would love to see you, the offices you work in, your friends and/or family become a Hero to a family or individual over the Christmas season! In doing so you would be committing to shining the most radiant light on the holidays for a family in need. The way this program works is that individuals, businesses or other groups of people will sponsor a family by providing them with a holiday hamper. This hamper will contain gifts for each of the family members and food if you so choose. We will provide you with a “family biography”, which will allow you to truly connect with the families changed by your kindness. Along with this you’re granted the opportunity to shop for and deliver to the families yourself! Sponsoring families is one thing, treating them as family by personalizing gifts and meeting them face to face makes people feel valued in a way that is true magic.
“Campaign for Christmas Kindness”: We are partnering with Porter’s Diner and local non-profit Sound for Change to host a number of individuals and families in need for a turkey dinner and the opportunity to sprinkle their holidays with a little (a lot of!) kindness! I am going to provide somewhat limited information on this particular event publicly, as we wish for it to remain a surprise for those invited, but would love to hear from you if you’d like further information on how to help make this event a HUGE success! If you’d like to nominate a family that is struggling for this event PLEASE provide us with their information.
Yes it’s true that for so many of us Christmas is a special time of year enriched with family, love and equal parts giving and receiving. But for many it is another raw reminder that their community has left them behind. It doesn’t have to be this way. I hope we can join together, as the big-hearted community I know we are, and honor the belief that we ALL deserve the experience of a truly magical holiday season.
To make a monetary donation and truly make a difference etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org using the headline Christmas.