The arrival of snow brings a variety of emotions to many different people. Most kids are probably excited as they look forward to playing in the snow, building a snowman, going tobogganing, and having a snowball fight. There are some of us who look upon snow and start shivering in expectation of the long cold months ahead of us. There are many hardy individuals whose emotional state at the start of winter seems to be one of enjoyment because winter is part of the changing of seasons. They embrace it by looking forward to skiing, skating, snowmobiling and sleigh rides. In truth, these people are probably the wisest since they prefer to look at the positives and make plans to enjoy the winter season.
The arrival of snow, for most of us, also seems to kick start us into preparations for Christmas. We think about decorating our homes, gift shopping, meal planning, baking traditional Christmas treats, and planning family gatherings and activities for children during their school break.
From the library perspective, we will do our own decorating, and planning for the Christmas season. We order new Christmas books to add to our holiday offerings and we always have some displays of our Christmas items. Another thing that has become a tradition for the library staff is that of sharing what we have with those that have very little. For quite a number of years we have put out an envelope for the staff to place their donations. MCC has a number of suggestions for Christmas giving. It is surprising that such a small amount can achieve so much. Consider the following:
- $11 can supply a child with books and equipment for a year of schooling
- $15 provides medical care for a child in Ukraine for one month
- $10 is the cost of a bag of cement to build a sand dam in Kenya. About 300 bags of cement are needed for a dam (if 10 friends each supply 3 bags you would build a dam)
- $38 provides materials such as rain gutters to build home cistern systems in Brazil
- $25 provides two rabbits to a Palestinian farmer
- $35 is the cost of a female goat for a family in Kenya
These are the most basic of needs that can be provided to improve daily life for a family.
I am not doing a commercial for MCC, there are other ways in which we can share the wealth we have in Canada with people who are trying to exist with almost nothing. Locally, we can all participate in the Community Christmas Hamper program. Surely Christmas, a time when we focus on giving from the heart, is the right time to look beyond our family borders, and teach our children about generosity to those in need – even if it might mean a small amount of sacrifice in what we receive. The joy of giving seems to have lost its true meaning as merchandisers have twisted it into a message that implies giving the right kind of gift will buy us approval from those we choose to gift.
Perhaps this year we can start a new tradition that arrives with the first snowfall – the tradition to plan what we can share that will truly bring something of lasting value to someone who may be very short on hope.