The Gift that Just Keeps on Giving

Jessika Vandivier  

The Paw Print

One could say that I am a bit of a Christmas nut. For me, the “season to be jolly” begins the moment the clock strikes twelve and waves goodbye to Thanksgiving. The town of Alamosa has already put up the annual street decorations, stores are filled with holiday decorations, and Christmas music is slowly starting to creep onto the radio. We still have over a month, which to some people is too early to get into the spirit of things, but I wanted to get people thinking about a new idea for this year’s giving season.

My parents always made sure that Christmas was a magical experience for my brother and me. I had the privilege of growing up in a household where financial issues were never prominent, and for that I am extremely grateful. However, around the holidays, I often stop and think about how Christmas is not such a joyful time of the year for everyone.

According to, one in two Americans are at or below the poverty line. This means that around 34.5 million people, or 12.7% of the United States population, is severely struggling financially. Of this percent, children make up about 39% of the millions living in these conditions.

These statistics are shocking. Imagine being a little kid and not getting to experience all the joys of Christmas, or, even harder to imagine, being a parent that cannot provide the magic for their child.

This is where you come in. There are multiple ways this holiday season that you can help a family in need have a very merry Christmas and become a Santa in your community.

The Salvation Army runs a program called Adopt- A- Family. This program gives needy families the opportunity to have a wonderful Christmas by designating a sponsor that provides both presents and food for the holiday festivities.

The program involves providing enough food so every family member gets a generous meal. Another guideline is that each member of the family, parents included, should receive two or more gifts. To become a sponsor, visit and contact your local Corps Office.

Along with the Adopt- A- Family program ran by the Salvation Army, there are many other community service projects you can get involved in.  Christmas, after all, is the season for giving, so why not give the gift of caring.

Now, it is understandable that people have many obligations and very little free time in their holiday schedule. However, one way you can help out is to simply donate money.

Whenever you walk into certain grocery stores, you will notice that there is either a Santa Clause or a Red Cross volunteer of some sort, ringing a bell and standing out in the freezing cold weather to collect donations. This is the most basic of all donating opportunities. All that is required is for you to empty out your pocket change; every little bit helps.

This Christmas, I challenge everyone to commit an act of kindness and to be extra generous towards those less fortunate than themselves. The holiday spirit is about more than just giving and receiving presents. It comes from being around those that you love and believing in the magic of generosity. Take this extra time to prepare and come up with your own way to give back and better your community this holiday season. is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet