Christmas is a time to give
December 23, 2020 | Contributed by Simran Sagar
Young Isabella after setting up
the Christmas tree
When December approaches I get a warm, fuzzy feeling as I know Christmas and the New Year is near! Ever since having my daughter, Christmas time took on a completely different meaning as giving has become an integral part of how we celebrate it every year. Growing up, I have very fond memories of this time of year. I remember we would go to a family friends house, where an uncle would dress up as Santa, and I’ve got to say I believed he was the real thing! I spent a couple of Christmas’s spending time with children at an orphanage which used to give me immense joy. The majority of my school years were spent in Singapore, where the streets would shimmer and shine by the end of September! Why? I’m guessing a tropical country had to double up the efforts to get those Christmas feels going!
Now, since becoming a mother I feel the need to create a space that exudes giving, generosity and sheer joy while celebrating together. My daughter, Isabella is now eight and is full of doubt as now asks, “Is Santa real? My friends told me he isn’t real. You’re Santa, aren’t you?” She’s even threatened to tie me to my bed on Christmas Eve as she suspects it’s me who puts the presents under the tree and eats the cookies we leave out for Santa’s helpers.
The Christmas manger setup at Missionaries
of Charity, Delhi
I do my best in deferring from this topic, because what’s the harm in believing in a little bit of magic. As we grow up, we get so rigid in our beliefs. I know that this is possibly the last year she believes in the man in a red suit, white beard and right-hand “man” or rather, reindeer Rudolph. But one thing that will never fade in our family is the tradition of giving, and giving joyously towards the treatment for underprivileged children. At this time of year and quite honestly, every opportunity we get in the year!
So here we are… it’s December 2020 and let’s admit COVID-19 has in one way or another taken a grip over our “normal” day-to-day lives and how we celebrate festivals. It probably doesn’t feel like Christmas is right around the corner. But let me assure you the power lies in your hands. We can’t let a virus play grinch over the festive season. Yes, we are homebound. Yes, socializing, partying and traveling does pose grave danger. But ‘tis the season to give, be generous, and be JOLLY! How can one not be? So, let’s work around it.
It’s exciting watching the present pile under the Christmas tree build up. It feels great when you place presents under the tree, eagerly waiting for your loved ones to open and see what you got them. Isabella waits anxiously for days leading up to the 25th morning. When her eyes open, she races out the bedroom and straight to the tree. It fills my heart with joy and gratitude to be able to give and see her heart fill with joy as she receives.
Every family has its own traditions and some have none, that’s also okay! Some of us might be giving in different forms. Giving isn’t always materialistic. Spending time with someone during this time, giving them your attention and love, that also counts!
Isabella when she believed
So, last year we started a new tradition whereby, on the first day of the new year, Isabella decided to donate all her saved money to Missionaries of Charity, along with her old toys, books and clothes! She carries an untainted, grateful heart and wants to give a little piece of what she has to another child. Simple.
On the 1st January 2021, she plans to go out and give masks to the less privileged who might not be able to afford an effective, proper mask. She wants to make sure that these families and children are safe during the pandemic, as they are certainly the most vulnerable.
Inspired by my daughter, why don’t you join me this festive season and take a pledge?
Every now and then, through Prema I was also involved in acts of charity helping to care for critically ill children. But after formally getting registered as an NGO in May of 2001, our work began.
Let’s definitely go about our Christmas plans and light up the faces of our loved ones. But, let’s also take this opportunity to end a challenging year by bringing warmth to our hearts and someone else’s as we pledge to give to someone we don’t know. Giving takes a whole new avatar when it comes in the form of a stranger.
Here are some ideas on how we can give to lesser privileged families this Christmas:
Little Isabella playing at Missionaries
of Charity, Delhi
Give blankets to a family.
Give away clothes or toys.
Give clean, bottled water and a hot meal to just one family.
Give life a chance for a little heart at Genesis Foundation and support treatment for underprivileged children. At the Foundation we do not believe in a ‘small donation’, every rupee goes towards creating a movement where the community comes together to just simply give.
“When life gives you a heart, use that to make a change by giving.”
-Isabella Twyford (my 8-year-old daughter)
So, join us and if you feel like, share how you plan on giving to a stranger by tagging us on @genesisfndn.
Season’s Greetings’ from all of us, to you!
– Contributed by Simran Sagar.