Remembering the True Reason for the Christmas Season
Posted in: Lifestyle
When I was a kid, there was nothing that I loved more than Christmas morning. Santa coming. Getting up at the crack of dawn to open gifts. Getting to play with presents all day long.
The week of Christmas, I would be totally off the wall with excitement. In fact, I was so hyped up about Christmas morning (and an ADD punk brat on top of it) that my parents would actually lie to me about when Christmas was so that I would go to sleep on Christmas Eve. Seriously! Otherwise the excitement of Christmas morning would keep me up all night long, giddy with anticipation.
As I’ve gotten older, I’m still just as excited for the holiday season – but now for a different reason. Of course I am super thankful for the amazing Christmas memories that I had as a kid, but the joy that I used to get when I received gifts now comes when I am giving them instead.
Giving back and being a part of something that is bigger than Christmas Day has always been one of my favorite parts about the holidays. I know it’s easy to get wrapped up in the holiday hustle and bustle, and spend the entire month of December running around like a crazy Kris Kringle. But it’s also important to remember the real reason for the season.
This Christmas, I encourage you to give back and put a smile on someone’s face if you are able to. Myself and my team at Hello Innovation have been fortunate enough to put happiness into people’s lives through gift donations and charity this year, and hopefully what we have learned will inspire others to do the same.
1. Everyone around you has a story.
Most days, it’s easy to stay focused on our own lives. Our work, our problems, what we have to accomplish and what is stressing us out. But it’s easy to forget that everyone else in the world has just as much on their plate as we do – sometimes even more. During the holiday season especially, it’s important to remember that every person you come in contact with has their own story and their own reasons for celebrating the season. So before you let the holiday madness stress you out and get the best of you, remember that everyone is fighting their own cold, snowy battle.
2. It’s better to give than to receive.
I know, you’re all probably rolling your eyes at me. This one is so obvious. But there are still people out there who just don’t get it. If they did and they experienced the thrill of giving someone something they so desperately need – the happiness and the joy that comes with this – they would do it all the time. And this doesn’t mean that you have to drain your own bank account in order to make a difference in someone else’s life. (See point number four.) Sometimes all it takes is a simple gift – a sturdy pair of shoes, a warm winter coat, or household necessitates. These things may seem small to you, but they may be the gift that helps to get someone else up on their feet.
3. People want tools, not gifts.
Sometimes our culture has a tendency to throw money at problems and then hope that it fixes them. Now don’t get me wrong, for certain causes and charities, monetary donations can be the best way to help! But in other cases, it’s often better to arm people with the tools to fix their problems themselves than to just provide them with the answers. For instance, some of my favorite gift ideas for families in need are books on how to invest in your future, games that teach kids to manage their money and believe in themselves, and inspiring books from people who have overcome hardships. These gifts are so much more valuable than an everyday Christmas present – they’re an investment in someone’s future.
4. You don’t have to spend money to help out.
Money isn’t the only way to make a difference. Unfortunately, this idea is often what keeps many people from getting involved. They think that, because they don’t have tons of extra money to donate or invest, they have no way to help. But I saw the opposite of this more than ever this holiday season. We had employees volunteer to come in over the weekend to help wrap presents for needy kids, and our marketing team was able to put their skills to work and share different ways that people can support local businesses and charities. No matter what your talent may be, there are definitely ways that you can help without having to spend any money. Just get creative!
5. People are looking for a way to help.
This holiday season has also shown me just how many people are willing to lend a hand and work towards a greater goal – they just needed to be presented with an opportunity! Our employees put out calls on social media for extra holiday wrapping helpers so that we could buy and wrap as many presents as possible for kids in need, and they were overwhelmed with how many people wanted to help. In fact, many of these volunteers remarked that they love helping out with these kinds of opportunities, they just didn’t know where to get started. All it takes is one spark, one person, or one initiative to get people to rally behind a cause. Just one. Be that spark.
This year, after you’ve opened your gifts and shared a few laughs with family and friends, think back on the true meaning of the season and what Christmas means to you. As the always wise Doogie Howser, M.D. always said, “Getting is good. Giving is better. Once you understand that, it's always Christmas.”
Merry Christmas, from all of us here at Hello Innovation. Cheers!