Holidays give a chance to volunteer

Holidays give a chance to volunteer

Nelson
Remember giving spirit at holidays

When I think back to my childhood and try to remember what made the holidays special, I realize I really don’t remember the “things” I received as gifts.
I kind of vaguely remember a green bike and my brother’s airplane that really flew. What I really remember most were the traditions: trimming the tree on Christmas Eve, decorating cookies with my siblings, delivering my mom’s Danish tea rings to our neighbors on Christmas morning, and yes, volunteerism.
My mom was a stickler for the fact that the holiday season was about giving. Every year in December my mom would set our family up to volunteer in some way. We took people into our home, we organized dinners, and we collected food for those in need.
My fondest memory was the year my mom baked a few hundred gingerbread cookies, made scads of icing, bought nuts, candies and dried fruit and we headed off, as a family, to the senior home. They set us up in a huge room with probably about 50 seniors. We sat down with them and decorated cookies that we gave to them to keep in their rooms and share with guests.
I think I was probably around 11 at the time and was the middle child of four. We didn’t all sit together; we spread out (probably at my mom’s firm direction) and got to know the folks we were spending our day with. My older sister made friends with an elderly lady who tried to set her up with her grandson — being 13, I think it may have been the height of my sister’s year! My dad was a musician; he sat and hung out with a retired musician and talked that jazzy talk. My younger sister met two older men who were from Alaska that told her stories; she was a very shy girl and was fascinated by these new friends. My little brother, being charming and young, became the “apple” of the elderly ladies’ eyes and was adored all day.
For me, what I remember the most was how very special that day was — how we were united as a family, how older people weren’t scary anymore, but were people just like me. They were intelligent, funny and fun. I look back and realize how strong my mom was to give us this wonderful gift: the gift of sharing ourselves, connecting with others and the gift of service. It is my all-time favorite memory from the holiday season. We all shared stories from that day for years to come.
Having had these experiences has added value and meaning to not only the season, but to who I am as a person and I have continued to keep the tradition of giving going with my own daughter. I believe it has helped my daughter develop understanding, compassion and a lifelong appreciation for what is truly meaningful in life.

Kristin Croker is The Children’s Kiva head of school and Montelores Early Childhood Council member.

Holidays give a chance to volunteer

Nelson
click here to add your event
Area Events
click here to add your event
Area Events