12/03/05 — Joy of giving brightens the season

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Joy of giving brightens the season

Christmas is a magical time. For many children, there is the lure of knowing that soon, an ever-vigilant Santa will make checkmarks on his naughty or nice list, and then pack his bag for a Christmas Eve trip.

Then, Christmas morning, there is the rush to see what the Jolly Old Elf left behind.

But for some Wayne County children, that excitement is cut short when there is little, or nothing, under the tree.

For them, the Santa Claus story means disappointment rather than joyful discovery.

And, in some cases, Christmas Day will also include the worry that there is going to be nothing to eat when it comes time for the holiday dinner.

Imagine being the parent who can’t provide a hot meal for his or her child. Over the next few weeks, there are going to be lots of appeals from local charities and other organizations asking Wayne County residents to support efforts to bring Christmas to some of the county’s needy children and their families.

From mall wish trees to secret Santa efforts by groups such as The Salvation Army, there are plenty of ways to be a part of making the holiday special for a family who might not otherwise have the opportunity.

And giving to others, besides representing the true spirit of the season, makes a nice Christmas gift in itself.

What better way to teach a young person in your family that Christmas is about more than Xbox 360s and Cabbage Patch dolls than giving him or her the chance to choose a gift for a child who would otherwise get nothing?

Just reading some of these children’s wish lists will bring a tear or two to the eye — and a whole new perspective on what should really matter this holiday season.

They often ask for basic clothing or gifts for their brothers, sisters or moms and dads.

Some even tell you they gave up on Santa many years ago, but that their brothers and sisters still believe, and suggest that you buy gifts for them. What a special gift you could give simply by sharing a bit of your own celebration with a child who asks for so little.

Christmas is expensive. From holiday parties to the dreaded shopping list, there are plenty of places to spend a whole lot of money. But setting aside a few dollars — or quite a few if you can afford them — is a great way to mark the season that is supposed to be about caring for one another.

So, contribute to a charitable gift drive or choose a child’s name off the holiday tree. Either way, you will be part of putting just a little of the magic back into the season both for a Wayne County child — and yourself.

Published in Editorials on December 3, 2005 11:45 PM