’Tis Another Season
’Tis Another Season
by Kathy Ryndak and Gord Riddell
As we prepare this article, Halloween is barely finished and the stores are already decorated for the Holiday season. It almost seems that time is going faster and faster and no sooner are last year’s decorations put away and it is time to pull the boxes out of storage once more for this year’s Holiday season. The Television is flush with ads for children’s toys and Holiday gift giving ideas. The commercialization of the Holiday season is in full swing.
This season is not new. It has its roots in hundreds and hundreds of years of our history and many cultures. From the Christian, birth of Jesus and light coming into the world through his teaching, the Judaic Hanukkah miracle of the oil lamp lasting for a full 8 days and saving many lives, to the Celtic which gave coal, bread and money to ensure a safe and prosperous year ahead. In the northern hemisphere we also mark the shortest day of the year when we experience the least light in our part of the world. Our historical stories and traditions fuel our modern day traditions. Decorating our homes in lights to light up the dark nights and celebrate light being in the world, to gift giving. Instead of coal, bread and money, we have altered the tradition to giving merchandise from the store or catalog.
It is unfortunate in many ways that the richness of our traditions are often lost in the commercialization of the season. The temptations of toys, clothes or just plain things beckoning us to buy or hopefully to receive from others. Yet for so many the season is just another day, another reminder how difficult life can be when money is not readily available. Perhaps we can recapture some of the meaning of the season by remembering those who struggle to find warmth, food and clothing let alone wondering if there may be many gifts awaiting them.
Money and Time
We invite you to consider those less fortunate whether they are in your family or strangers in your community who do not have the luxury of gift giving and receiving. Your money, your time and lightly used warm clothing can all be contributed to help others and to help ourselves to better understand and experience the deeper meaning of our Holiday traditions.
Some ideas for your consideration:
- Contribute food to your local food bank and/or volunteer in sorting and boxing the donations they have received for distribution.
- Make donations of lightly used warm clothing or new blankets and sleeping bags to out of the cold programs in your area. Everything from coats and sweaters to hats and gloves are accepted for distribution to the homeless.
- Give to your local United Way Association who assists so many social service organizations.
- Local toy drives for children who might not receive anything come Christmas morning.
- Almost all local Hospitals have an end of year fund raising campaign.
- Delivering food and cheer to shut-ins through organizations like Meals on Wheels.
- Visiting and assisting seniors and children in hospital and assisted living communities.
By reaching out at this time of year we can contribute to our community by assisting those in need. The essence of what community is all about. Ask your self do you really need another object that will sit there, need dusting or that you may turn around and ‘regift’. Make a pact with your friends and family not to exchange gifts but to make donations to help others. Not sure what to give someone you are supposed to buy for – change the tradition and make a donation in their honour.
There are so many possibilities. So many it is almost overwhelming. It also speaks to the need that exists both locally and globally. Choose what feels right for you and give of your time and money. We need to re-distribute our wealth of not just money but of time and caring for each other on this planet. As we have received, the most spiritual thing we can do, is to give and share in kind. Our ability to give and to serve others is a prayer of gratitude for what we do have. Even if you do not have the financial resources to give, the contribution of our time, our presence will always be ways we can serve others.
So we invite you to put true ‘spirit’ back into the Holiday season and consider how you may contribute to ever increasing needs in your community.
From all of us at Transformational Arts College we wish a warm and safe Holiday season.