When I was a child, I remember my parents always putting together toy packages for other children. I never really understood what was going on until one Christmas Eve my mother came home crying.
As she stood in the doorway of our house, in the arms of my dad, I remember asking her why she was crying. “Honey, I am crying because I am so grateful for our beautiful life and our beautiful family.” And I remember asking why that would make her cry when it should be something that makes her happy.
She told me that it does make her happy, and explained there are families out there that are beautiful too, but they suffer and struggle, which shadows the beauty of their happiness.
That evening she had returned home from delivering Christmas hampers to those less fortunate. And as she left the houses of those families, they held her crying, thanking her for making their Christmas so beautiful. And it was that night that I learned about the packages they had always put together for other children, and about giving back to other families in my community.
Now, every year, as a family tradition, we buy gifts, toys, clothes and gift cards, and ensure that another family can enjoy the spirit of Christmas. Our family gets together over the holidays and we enjoy each other’s company, and instead of opening presents, we sit together knowing that we relieved stress and worry for a family in need and instead, made it special.
You see, we have everything we need. And the most important element of Christmas for our family is to ensure another family has everything they need and want. At a time of year when society is focused on buying and spending money, the best gift of all for my family is to give to others. It’s knowing we made Christmas special for a family in need.
And when I finally have a family of my own, I will teach my children about the special element of giving back and what the true spirit of Christmas really is.
Aaryn @ Avi Urban
If you want to help brighten someone’s Christmas, please donate to the SUNshine Fund. All proceeds go directly to The Salvation Army.
Donate by mail to SUNshine Fund c/o The Calgary Sun, 2615 12 St. N.E. T2E-7W9.
Other ways you can help a family in need:
From Adopting a grandparent to adopting a teen, Inform Alberta has everything you need to find in one place.
Magic of Christmas is a charity that delivers hope, joy and love. See how you can help.