The True Spirit of Christmas

Spirit_of_Christmas.jpgThe spirit of Christmas in our culture 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.

Each year, my hope is that the enthusiasm for shopping doesn't come at the expense of philanthropy. 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.

The traditions of Christmas include for many the generosity of charity for the less fortunate. As the New Year approaches, we at Volunteers of America hope everyone will remember the true spirit of the holidays and focus on helping those in need, rather than just on consumption and celebration. For more information on ways you can support Volunteers of America, please visit


Mike King