“Merry Christmas” and the Spirit of Giving

Recently a Facebook friend wrote that he wasn’t going to stop saying “Merry Christmas,” no matter who it might offend. Comments to his posting were equally supportive, some going so far as to say it’s a bunch of “bullshit.”

It continues to amaze me that at this (supposedly) time of peace on earth and good will towards all, people continue to exhibit such animosity, hostility, and rancor towards those who don’t believe as they do.

I personally do not honor December 25th in any religious way. For one thing, although popularized as the date Jesus was born, evidence from all fronts indicates this is in error. But beyond that, I simply am no longer a “believer.”

It’s a long-standing tradition to give gifts at this time of year. In fact, kids have learned to expect toys and other goodies – to the point that people are urged to donate to “Toys for Tots” and other organizations just so the floor under the tree isn’t bare. And adults aren’t much better. They will spend money they don’t have simply to fulfill the obligation of the season.

giving

If people truly want to demonstrate the “Christmas” spirit, why limit it to words? Why not help others to have that Merry Christmas they speak of by giving to those less fortunate – expressed through donations of food, money to help pay the bills, blankets and clothes to keep warm. (And dropping loose change into the Salvation Army bucket doesn’t count.)

Pay attention to requests from your local paper about families in need. Buy a little extra when you go to the grocery store and drop it off at the Food Bank. Go through your stash of old blankets and take them to a local charity. In other words, take heed to that old saying: “Actions speak louder than words.”

Retailers Love Holiday Giving

Once again the media is promoting “giving” for the holidays. Everywhere you turn, there are collection boxes for food, toys, clothes, blankets, etc. for the needy.

While I totally support helping the less fortunate, every year I wonder why it becomes such a ‘big deal’ during the holidays. In today’s economic times, there are hundreds of people who need help year-round. Yet it is only towards the end of each year that the focus becomes laser sharp. Could it be just one more marketing ploy by retailers? 

I also feel a certain amount of distaste for the “Toys for Tots” type campaigns. Why is it so important that every child has a gift under the tree? Yes, I know all about tradition, but that’s the problem. Kids today have learned to expect a “visit from Santa Claus.” And the retailers love it!

There is no denying that we should all feel a certain responsibility for helping others who are destitute and/or impoverished. But when it’s promoted and pushed by local stores through newspaper ads and TV, one can’t help but wonder exactly where charity ends and greed begins.