Scott Cavanagh
Freelance Writing, Editing and Photography

Reprinted from The Grove City Record
December 12, 1990

Over the past few weeks most forms of media, including my own, have done their best to disseminate as many stories highlighting the good nature of Americans at holiday time as possible. These stories are of great value because they not only sell papers and air time, they also inspire readers, listeners and viewers to drop a little of their extra change into the closest Santa’s collection kettle each winter.

Every year, countless people from all walks of life put aside their own concerns and go about the business of making sure less fortunate souls are not forgotten during the holiday season.

Although the work of these caring individuals shows us what we can accomplish with a bit of concern and effort, it also raises questions about our charitable spirit throughout the rest of the year.

Children's homes are usually filled with toys for kids at Christmas, and retirement communities chock-full of visiting school children. Open shelters receive more donations in November and December than the previous ten months combined. But what happens after the trees come down and the New Year begins?

The holidays bring out the best in many of us, and in a society that frequently places the welfare of the individual over the common good, this season opens an often locked door that allows us to forget our own needs for a time and concentrate on helping others.

Unfortunately, the people who require help will still be in need on January 1, when the Christmas spirit of giving is packed away with the family ornaments.

People often talk about celebrating Christmas year-round - keeping the spirit of the holiday season alive throughout the change of seasons. While a wreath on the door and mistletoe in the hall may not be ideal for July, other aspects of Christmas time are. Organizations like Toys for Tots and Community Sharing are active throughout the year and make it a point to avoid draining their organizations’ resources dry during the holiday push.

So next week, when you toss some money into a Salvation Army pot, or donate old toys to a drive, make a note to do the same thing in April or August. The people you assist then will appreciate it just as much, and you’ll be helping to keep the true spirit of Christmas alive all year.

Scott Cavanagh is Editor of Northland ThisWeek.

Column copyright 2000 Midland Avenue Communications. Reprints without permission are a violation of Federal Law.