In the rush of the holiday season and gift shopping, we forget the original meaning of the holidays. And I say holidays because there are quite a few holidays in the next few weeks from different cultures around the world.
Presents at this time of year are a relatively new invention. In 1850, Queen Victoria gave her children the first recorded Christmas gifts. This slowly turned to the mass consumerism where we see people getting trampled rushing into their favorite store to get the “door buster” deal.
Traditionally, the holidays have been a celebration of what we have and of helping the unfortunate. Take for example St. Lucia day from Sweden where St. Lucia brings the light. St. Lucia day was a time when poor people could go singing from door to door for food and drinks. In England and America, there was a similar tradition with caroling.
Is it time to start a new tradition? I would suggest that we start a new old tradition of bringing back the spirit of the holidays of being thankful and passing a little bit of our happiness, health and wealth forward.
In our family, we invite people over for Christmas dinner who don’t have any family to celebrate with. I know of another person who buys presents for children and families in need. Many others participate in Church related events or volunteer at the soup kitchen.
Recently, we found out about the Cambodia Academy. It is a school for the poorest of the poor in Cambodia. It is a school that our local Rotary club has done projects for and you can sponsor a child’s education, school uniform and two meals a day for a whole year for only $25 monthly or donate one time of $295 to cover the whole year. There are also options to pay for specific projects or holiday events. It is an easy way to make a big difference in someone’s life. https://www.cambodiaacademy.org/
Locally, you can donate to different church projects or I would suggest to have the most impactful effect on the poorest of the poor in Chautauqua county consider the City Mission (for homeless) or St. Susan Kitchen (food pantry and more).
The UCAN City Mission can be found at https://www.ucancitymission.org/. St. Susan Center can be found at https://stsusancenter.org/.
Have a healthy holiday and celebrate with a new giving tradition. If you have any health issues, please feel free to call our office at 716-665-5015 or come to one of our free workshops.
Jeffrey Barkstrom has been helping people with health and weight loss issues for more than 12 years. He has spoken at colleges, businesses, non-profits, national conferences and on television about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He currently practices at Barkstrom Acupuncture PC, Natural Health Improvement Center in Jamestown, NY. Learn more at www.barkstrom.net or at www.jamestowngazette.com.