Christmas has become very commercialized, in my opinion, and seems to have lost something. Recently though, I have read a couple of stories lately that has really touched me in a profound way.

The first was a blog post. A mom was tucking her four year old into bed and he asked her what Jesus was getting for his birthday, since that was what Christmas was all about (they are a Christian family). This stumped the mom at first but it started a whole new tradition in her family. Instead of giving each other gifts for Christmas, this family goes through a special catalog every day (for about 2 weeks) before Christmas picking out gifts for those less fortunate. It targets poorer countries and each child picks out things like mosquito nets, seed packets to grow crops, and so on. They have done this for 14 years now and the kids love it. At the end she talks about how her family didn't understand why they do it and thought they were nuts, but then her father suggested the whole family not do Christmas presents that year. Instead he proposed they all take a trip to Africa to build a well for a poor village. 

This story made me cry. It was all started by a young child and morphed into something huge. Instead of being consumed with what they would get for Christmas, it was what they were going to give to others.

The second story was a recent news article. A bunch of people, across several states, went into various Kmarts, targeting layaway accounts with items for small children, and paying them off for the families. None of them wanted to be identified, they just wanted to help give the children a nice Christmas. Some of these families weren't even going to be able to finish paying them off before Christmas. For them, it was a true blessing. 

Once again this story brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. It makes one pause and smile, to know that the spirit of Christmas is not lost. It is not what we get that is important. It's not even the store bought gifts that we give, because there are some who do not have the means to buy gifts. It is the love and compassion that is important. Being with those you love and sharing special moments that you will treasure in your heart always. It's also not just this time of year. We should remember these things all year round. 

Money only takes you so far. Possessions don't last forever. Love and kindness to each other does.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays to everyone out there! I hope you all are able to spend some time with your loved ones and make some lasting memories!