The Spirit of Christmas
The spirit of Christmas, at least in recent years, has become divided between two seemingly contradictory priorities – the traditional spirit of giving and generosity, mixed with materialism and the search for bargains. We must remember that the true spirit of Christmas is not about buying the latest electronic gadget for 50 percent off. This is also a time when we traditionally reflect on those who may not be able to afford presents under the Christmas tree, or who will be separated from loved ones during the holiday. It is a time of generosity towards others by giving of one's spirit, not just giving material things … or shopping to give to one's self.
My hope this year is that the enthusiasm for shopping doesn't come at the expense of philanthropy. It's so easy for people to argue that after years of frugality and sacrifice they deserve to reward themselves and have a little fun. But we must remember that not everyone can see a light at the end of the economic tunnel. America's most vulnerable continue to struggle and need our help.
The importance of donations from individuals can never be overstated. Philanthropy makes a critical difference in the lives of people we serve. It helps us fill gaps in existing funding to create new services in response to emerging needs. Donations not only allow organizations like Volunteers of America to serve more people, but also to address the quality as well as the quantity of services. It is the factor that turns public housing into family homes, and makes the difference between simply keeping people alive and giving them a life.
Volunteers of America's "Spirit of Giving" online catalog aimed at allowing people to shop while also being charitable. Each item in the catalog provides an opportunity to give hope to our neighbors in need, from families struggling to keep a roof over their heads to children without enough food to eat. Choose a gift in honor of someone special and we'll help convey your generosity by sending a beautiful eCard to the honoree.
The traditions of Christmas include for many the generosity of charity for the less fortunate. As the holiday approaches, we at Volunteers of America hope everyone will remember the true spirit of Christmas and focus on helping those in need, rather than on the consumption and celebration that can overshadow the holiday. For more information on ways you can support Volunteers of America, please visit www.voa.org/donate.