Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center
Twinkling lights line streets; mugs of hot cocoa burn tongues; wrapped toys gather under trees decked in tinsel and homemade ornaments. The holiday season is here, but this time of year is prized not only for its bright lights, catchy music, and heartwarming movies. It is a time when people around the world can celebrate and revel in the unity of the human spirit.
From baking cookies to picking out trees, several traditions entail the holidays, but arguably the most important tradition is the most simple one: loved ones coming home, even if only for a few days. Relatives across the country unite under one roof, exchanging presents and stories while enjoying the warmth of eggnog and family. College students return to their parents and siblings, grateful for homemade food and a break after finals. For Sarah Kim (12), in particular, “the holidays used to mean new toys and ripping open presents. Now, I realize that what I look forward to the most is reuniting with people I haven’t seen for a long time.” For these few days once a year, families and friends celebrate old memories and create new ones to remind each other of the power of human connection, laughter, and, above all, love.
Despite the flashy lights and expensive gifts, the genuine nature of the holidays has always been rooted in the spirit of giving. Presents are a major focus of the holidays, and underneath the layers of wrapping paper and overpriced toys lies generosity and the best of intentions. Many, however, extend their gift-giving beyond their immediate friends and family to share with those who are less fortunate and need extra holiday cheer.
Tales of kindness from strangers are unique and inspiring: an anonymous businessman from Kansas City was reported by CBS News to travel to a few cities to hand out one-hundred dollar bills to “people who have sadness on their faces” in order to “give them hope that their life can be changed.” A Michigan man bought numerous trees to give out to those who could not afford one, and a Canadian airline fulfilled the wishes of the 250 passengers of a flight. A homeless man used nearly all his money to buy a new bike for a toy drive; a college student hosted a potluck dinner for others who, like her, were alone for the holidays and were searching for company.
No matter the form of generosity, these instances of strangers helping others prove the impact of compassion and thoughtfulness. Whether it be loved ones coming home for the holidays or strangers helping strangers, the holidays are more than cheesy movies, tinsel, and letters to the North Pole. It is the power of kindness and unity that makes the holidays the most wonderful time of the year.