THE SPIRIT of giving has a great deal to do with what makes the holidays a special time, but far too often the ritual of exchanging material items clouds the true meaning of the giving gesture.
This week and last as students in the local schools spent their last days in class before the Christmas break, many of them got into the holiday spirit and spread their joy and enthusiasm for the season to others.
Over the past few weeks, students from preschools to college embraced the spirit of giving in a number of ways.
From canned food drives at local schools to the annual pet supply drive conducted by St. Clairsville Elementary School for homeless animals and the unique "milk menagerie" by students on the third floor of Wheeling Jesuit University's Campion Hall dorm - who raised $1,000 toward the purchase of a cow, two goats and a buffalo to be given to a Third World village - young people truly showed that they appreciate the rewards reaped by selflessly helping those in need.
Busy schedules often prevent most families from getting together to share time outside of the holidays, let alone neighbors and people in the world who they may likely never meet. It's nice to know that folks out there can take the time to try to make the season special for others, especially for those who may not have the opportunity to share their holidays with their friends and loved ones in the traditional way. Some folks in the world may not observe or even know it is the holiday season.
Although most young people love seeing mounds of presents under the tree on Christmas morning, their joy from opening gifts is in harmony with the joy their parents' experience from witnessing the children's excitement.
The holiday spirit, however, is a gift that may not necessarily come in a box. It's something that doesn't have to be bought. It's really about what you can do to help make someone else's holiday even brighter and more memorable.
That's something important that kids today should learn. Then again, maybe that is something we can learn from them.