In the Spirit of the Holidays

Mary StanleyA blog post by PR and Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

With the holiday season well underway, it is difficult not to think about the spirit of giving and what that truly means. I remember as a child, carefully selecting items for the people on my list and being genuinely excited about giving the gifts I had chosen. Those memories serve as a reminder to me of what this season is really about—the sincere desire to give something special to someone for the sole purpose of letting that person know I care. Because of those experiences earlier in my life, I have come to understand that giving a gift that positively impacts the life of another is the essence of this season.

In this age of Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, and Cyber Monday, along with the multiple platforms that advertisers use to bury us under a sea of commercialism,  it can be easy to lose sight of the true meaning  of the holidays. While we can blame that loss on commercialism, perhaps it would be better to delve a bit deeper and consider our own behaviors. Could our choice of gifts be preventing us from feeling that genuine sense of joy that comes from giving?  In our struggle to keep alive the spirit of the words, “peace on earth and good will toward men,” maybe we should consider giving gifts that have a far reaching impact and touch the lives of others.

Rather than heading to the nearest big box store in search of the latest and greatest television or jumping on the internet to purchase the newest smart phone, perhaps we should choose a more meaningful gift—one that improves the human condition. While the thrill of new technology will make us happy in the moment, the joy it brings will wane after a few months, if it lasts that long. But a donation made to an organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of people who have been marginalized is something that has long lasting and a far reaching impact. Donating to a nonprofit organization that every day strives to make a difference in the lives of people who need its services not only brings joy to the people directly served by the organization but to the donor as well.  Knowing that our gift has the power to affect so many people in positive ways indeed fills us with that genuine sense of joy that we all seek during this season.

And so, as you prepare for the holidays, I wish you all the peace and joy that comes with giving from the heart.

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