The holiday season, as widely accepted by the general American public, is one for gratitude and giving. Charity abounds, love for our fellow men is at its peak, and each day there seems to be another food drive, gallant act of selfless service or community event promoting the true holiday spirit.
All of these things, honestly, thrill me. The magic of the holidays is evident everywhere I go, and I firmly believe that it’s the most wonderful time of the year despite the commercialization that seems to have jaded some. No other time could quite compare for me.
However, recently, I began to wonder why. Why is it that the air at Christmastime seems charged with the very essence of goodness? Obviously it’s because of the acts of kindness found at every turn. But should they really be confined to only this season?
Once Christmas is over, do people stop having needs? No. In fact, just after Christmas, the remainder of the winter months roll around and are generally colder than December ever gets. Do those that are in need financially and emotionally suddenly disappear? On the contrary, there is not only just as great of a demand for help, but also a lack of it.
That is not to say that all of this holiday help should be forgotten. Christmas should always be a special time of year. However, the difference should not be in being a good citizen during the Christmas season and an entirely apathetic citizen for the rest of the year. Rather, Christmas should be filled with an increased excuse to give gifts to family and friends, celebrate whatever religious aspects are significant to every individual, and think a little more of those around us. It should not be an excuse to slack off on charity and service for the rest of the year, however.
This year, as I plotted what I could do for my neighbors and friends, I realized how little I concern myself over the happiness of my family and, on a wider scale, those in the community who need my help outside of my favorite season. I was a bit disgusted with myself to realize that the concern for others is rare when I’m not focused on the holidays.
Also, there comes an attitude around Christmastime that involves a certain thirst for recognition. Grand gestures are followed by a need to be praised and rewarded.
This, to me, does not feel like real charity. Instead, it feels like a shallow desire to compensate for the months spent without thought for those around us. This is a generalization and I know that. There will always be those angel people who are working tirelessly to give all year round, all the time. Accordingly, they always seem to be those that are the happiest. They are, in fact, those who have caught the true spirit of Christmas.
This idea intrigues me. Though Christmas is a special time, I would love nothing more than to keep that whimsical, sweet feeling with me all year. True, the hot chocolate, glowing lights, candy canes, sprinkling snow and constant crooning of Bing Crosby all mean a lot to me and contribute to my love of this particular holiday. But the best part, the one part of Christmas that if taken away would completely ruin the holiday, is that of the spirit of giving. It seems like a cliched notion, but it’s true. This year, though, I’m hoping that my favorite time of year just might extend through all of 2013.
The need for help does not end with the end of the holiday season, and neither should the willingness to give it.
Siera Gomez is a senior at Stansbury High School.