On an average day, some people can go through that day without ever having the desire to help someone else. However, during the Christmas holiday, many are doing quite the opposite. The word for this season is giving.
Christmas has various meanings for many people. For some it is a time to celebrate Christ’s birth. “The purpose of Christmas is to acknowledge the Savior’s birth,” said Terilyn McDermott, 20, a freshman at Delgado Community College.
For others this holiday is designated for families to spend time together. “Family is a major aspect of the Christmas season,” said Brandi Crenshaw, 20, a business management. Nadia Williams, 22, a computer science major agrees. “Christmas is a wonderful holiday to cherish because you spend it with your loved ones.”
Almost all of the holidays garner some type of emotion within people. However, many believe that Christmas creates the deepest sentiments. “Not everybody participates in certain holidays, such as Mardi Gras and Halloween, but Christmas is one of the only holidays that almost all Western people celebrate,” McDermott said.
This particular holiday is also one of few that prompts compassion. There is an adage associated with Christmas that many people accept. It says, “This is the season for giving.” However, there are those who feel that Christmas should not be the reason a person chooses to help another. Brandon Jones, 20, a business finance major at Southeastern University said, “The actions of sympathy and kindness, generally associated with Christmas, should not take place only on December 25. People should always give.”
Along with the actions he described are also behaviors of selfishness. “A lot of people give to the less fortunate or to family and friends so that others can acknowledge them or so that they can say they did a good deed. It has nothing to do with doing something out of the kindness of one’s heart but to build that person’s own ego.”
Other reasons exist that prompt people to have more compassion during this holiday. Many recognize that Christmas is a time generally linked to family bonds. For this reason, nursing major, Adrienne Wiltz, said that it is extremely important to give because people who do not have families may feel unloved and as though they are worthless. “Those who are blessed with more should give to people who are truly less fortunate because during the holidays they can feel as though people in world really do care.”
Kevin Gardere, major gifts director, at Bridge House, an addictive treatment organization has similar sentiments. For him, Bridge House is helping several people on a regular basis. “This is an unbelievably peaceful place. This organization shows that everybody deserves a chance in society; it allows people to know that they are important members of this world, have a part to play and are capable of fulfilling their roles.”
Aside from their everyday routine of group therapy, clients at Bridge House can anticipate something different for this holiday season. Gardere said that there will be a Christmas party on December 22. Clients will receive gifts, and there will be singing. Also, the organization is providing meals, clothing, and toiletries for the homeless from 8:00a.m – 2:00p.m. “Volunteers and donations are always welcome, and people can drop off donations, or we will pick them up,” said Gardere.
Other organizations are also doing special activities to promote the spirit of benevolence and generosity. Part of the Angel Tree Program, “Adopt an Angel” is being held by The Salvation Army. “The purpose of this program is to help underprivileged children in several parishes including Orleans, Plaquemines, St.Tammany, St. Bernard, and Jefferson,” said Kevalyn Pennington, executive secretary of New Orleans Area Command. “We will provide children with Christmas gifts.”
The organization is also providing meals for families who cannot afford certain foods, including turkeys. “We are giving out food vouchers,” said Pennington.
Like these social groups, some local churches are serving those who may be less fortunate or cannot spend Christmas at home. The Willing Workers, a group at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Kenner, will collect food and clothes to give to the elderly. Children will receive these items, along with toys. “We will sing Christmas carols at the hospitals,” said Fallon Jackson, 20, mass communication major at Xavier University.
Several organizations and individuals have multiple reasons that contribute to their desire to give during this season. Some feel the reason is simple. “It is our duty as humans to take of each other,” said Jackson.