Santa Claus is coming to town soon. All around the world, millions of children are impatiently awaiting the arrival of the big man himself: Santa Claus. The anticipation of reindeer hooves on the roof keeps little ones awake in their beds, while Mom and Dad tiptoe downstairs with arms full of presents.
Millions of children and adults across the country relive this memory every year when companies drown us in innumerable heartwarming ads for months on end and distant family members chuck dozens of well-wishing cards at us. The holiday spirit bombards us around this time of year. And for most of us, the holiday season is a joyous time. It’s a time for us to visit close family and dear friends, a time to revisit sweet childhood memories while surrounded by those we love most. The holiday season is a time when love and happiness blanket the world no matter what holiday you do or don’t celebrate. But we’ve grown too comfortable with what we’re blessed with, forgetting that there are those who go without.
Growing up in Hamilton County means living in a bubble. The area suffered a poverty rate of 3.8% in 2017, so I think it’s safe to say that only a small percentage of us have gone without a lavish Thanksgiving dinner or expensive Christmas presents, much less been worried about our next meal. We never see the reality for those who are financially insecure when we live in an area where such a large majority is fortunate. We get so caught up in what we already have and what we really want that we forget there are those without basic needs like food or shelter. Nonprofits and charities may give back to those in need during the holidays, but the season is still undeniably arduous for them. Each year, millions of children living in poverty go without regular meals when they are on break from school. The last thought on their mind is what Santa will bring, because Santa does not visit them.
Now, I don’t mean to be a Grinch; I enjoy Christmas just as much as anybody else. The food, the snow, and the exuberant holiday spirit make this the best time of the year in my opinion. In fact, I’m guilty of getting wrapped up in my own wants as well. But there are many who don’t have what we do, and they deserve more than they have. If the holiday season is so full of love, family, and unity, then shouldn’t we give that to others?
For this season, and for every one after, I challenge you to look outside yourself. Using your privilege to serve others is the best gift you could give. Forget the tree, forget the sleigh, forget the presents, and remember the reason for the season- loving others.
Your help would be greatly appreciated by these nonprofits you can support this holiday season:
-Christmas in the City
-Operation Christmas Child
-Toys for Tots
-My Two Front Teeth