When I was a child, Christmas was a time to receive. I would spend endless hours counting and shaking every present underneath the Christmas tree, excitedly waiting to unwrap them. I was the kid who stood in line for hours just to make sure Santa Claus knew exactly what I wanted. The list went on and on. I would even get upset with my parents when my sister had more presents than I had underneath the tree.
The older I grew, the more I realized Christmas was not about receiving but about giving. Every year,there are a handful of families who can’t afford to exchange gifts on Christmas. While kids like me were busy worrying about how many gifts we had under the tree, these children had not a single gift. The giving concept hit home for me when my mom decided to take a card with a name off of the Giving Tree at our church. On the back of the card it read, “I would like a winter jacket for Christmas, please.” I glanced up at my mom as she read it to me and fell into sorrow. I stood there and thought to myself, “I would never have to ask for a coat. My parents would get me a coat if I needed one.” I realized how fortunate I was when so many families struggle through the holiday season. That was the day Christmas truly turned into Christmas for me…now giving is all I want to do. The feeling of giving is better than opening any gift; It can’t be topped. It’s the star at the top of my tree.
– Kassie Hanson