When the restrictions and COVID-measures rolled out, I heard a lot of people from cities getting upset over cancelled parties and gatherings. And yes, there were these murmurs in smaller towns and villages as well, but what surprised me was just how many people were more upset over how someone else won’t get Christmas, how folks in seniors’ homes won’t get to see their families, how kids won’t get their toys under their trees or how families won’t unite over the holidays.
Locally, I saw organizations from food banks to schools and the Chamber of Commerce to individuals, pulling all stops, finding ways to get around the restrictions and ensure it ends up being a happy Christmas for everyone. From distributing over 500 hampers in Houston to school kids and orphans, collecting toys through Cram the Cruiser in Granisle and Burns Lake and rallying together the community to write cards for seniors, people in these communities were constantly buzzing with ideas to make this year’s Christmas extra special despite the restrictions.
All this giving, reminded me of a survey that was released last year by the Charities Aid Foundation, a UK-based organization, on 10 Years of Giving trends across the globe. While the U.S.A. ranked number one on the list of generosity, Canada ranked sixth among the 128 countries surveyed over a period of 10 years. Both these countries’ generosity quotient has gone down over the years according to the survey. Seven of the top 10 countries on the generosity meter, are among the wealthiest in the world, but interestingly, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the other three on the list, are all classified by the UN as lower-middle-income countries.
The report’s authors made a very interesting observation over what makes a country more generous. They say in the report, “There is no one trait that points to a country’s generosity. Top performing countries represent a wide range of geographies, religions, cultures and levels of wealth – what they all have in common is simply an inspiring willingness to give.”
That’s also what I have observed in the past few days where people with limited means themselves have been making bottle donations in the names of charities, giving that one dollar extra on their bills at the end of a shopping trip towards a charity or are simply going out of their way to make someone else smile, no matter the caste, religion, region of the giver and receiver.
Christmas so far had been mostly about sparkly lights, tree decorations, exchanging gifts and family pictures.
This year however, I have seen what the season of giving really means on a larger scale and I am absolutely loving everything about it. Giving gifts, making donations, spreading happiness; it is just so heartening to see so many people around the globe, thinking about bringing a smile to someone else’s faces, all at the same time. And all of this especially during one of the most difficult years financially, emotionally and mentally. I hope this spirit of giving only multiplies and so does the joy around the globe.
All of us here at the Houston Today family, wish you and your family a very Happy Holiday season!