6. Spreading Goodwill at Christmas

The real meaning of Christmas, the season of good cheer, is about giving
especially to provide some assistance to those who need help for their daily
survival and who therefore don’t have the material resources to enjoy the
Christmas season. The importance of giving to those in need during Christmas is
embodied in the story of Jesus’ birth, which is the reason Christmas is
For Christians, Jesus was born to save mankind from sin by giving
everlasting Salvation to all who believe in the Word of God and chose to follow
the principles for living in the Bible. Jesus therefore gave in the ultimate way
– he offered himself as a sacrifice for every living person. Christians
therefore believe that Christmas should be about following the example of Jesus
by giving of oneself to others, especially to those who are in need.
The Christmas season should therefore be about spreading goodwill and good
cheer. This purpose of Christmas is very significant because research by social
service organizations has shown that Christmas happens to be a high time for
depression among the have-nots, among people with problems and others who just
don’t have the means and resources to enjoy the merriment of the holidays.
The hundreds of Santa letters written by children are often a sad
testament to the many unmet needs of families and individuals during the festive
Christmas and holiday times. Just about every child is told the story of Santa
Claus, or hears about him because his presence is everywhere at Christmas. And
up to the age of 7 to 8 years, most children believe the story about Santa Claus
bringing toys and other gifts. That’s the reason why so many young children
often write letters to Santa at Christmas time in which the innocently plead for
toys and other gifts because they their parents or other relatives will not be
able to give them those Christmas toys or Christmas gifts that they want.
Thankfully there are many volunteer and charitable efforts carried out by
groups and corporations that seek to fulfill the needs of children and also of
adults during the Christmas season. One of the most notable organizations that
do such charitable work is the Salvation Army, which has a history of giving
service to those in need.
According to The Salvation Army’s website, the organization as known today was
started in 1865 by a Methodist minister, William Booth and his wife Catherine.
They formed a group that preached, provided food and shelter to the homeless,
the hungry and to alcoholics in need of recovery services. The services were
provided in London’s East End. Booth and his followers, first known as ‘The
Christian Mission,’ started to use The Salvation Army name in 1878.
The Salvation Army is now uniquely associated with the Christmas season through
its many representatives who dress up as Santa Claus and stand outside retail
establishments ringing their bells while they kindly seek donations from
shoppers to help the poor at Christmas.
Individuals also play Santa Claus at Christmas time and help out those in need
by donating toys and gifts through their companies, other business enterprises
such as banks or through their local municipality. These groups usually all have
a box or an area where new toys or clothing can be dropped off and the items are
then donated to families in need or to social service providers for distribution
to the needy during the Christmas season.
Along with much charitable giving at Christmas time, other public interest
groups also work hard to inform and educate consumers about avoiding the after
Christmas blues. This is often experienced in January when the bills and debts
are due as a result of all the spending, much of it on credit, that is done for
the holidays.
These groups try to spread goodwill and cheer in a different way. They try to
provide educational information on spending responsibly during the Christmas
season with the hope that the happiness and good feeling enjoyed during the
season can also carry over after Christmas and not be spoiled by the burden of
having huge bills to pay.