The Christmas Spirit – English Version

From a young age we both have been very fond of Christmas. There are countless of Christmas memories! A lovely family party, gathering the family and decorating the Christmas tree together. We love watching Christmas movies together or play and sing along to Christmas music. As a family we enjoy game nights, cooking together and enjoy a meal together but we also love making and sending Christmas cards. Going to a church service on December 24th or 25th is a set tradition, watching the big Christmas tree in town and view all the lights. There are too many memories to count. In addition to that, my mother’s birthday (Carmen’s mother) is on December 25th.

Carmen’s childhood

At our house it was a habit to bring presents, food & cards around to those who had less or who needed some Christmas cheer. “The Spirit of Christmas” was part of my childhood.

There is one Christmas in particular right after my father died that is forever written in my memory. My mother and her three small children were supposed to spend both Christmas days with family and friends. Due to some unforseen circumstances this was cancelled. As a result we didn’t have any Christmas dinner in the house. In the end someone gave us a bit Christmas packet that allowed us to still have a grand meal during the holidays. I will never forget that!

Pay it forward

I ended up marrying a wonderful man and gave birth to two children. The eldest (Yardéna) was born on December 26th (the Second day of Christmas in Holland). I couldn’t have gotten a more beautiful Christmas wish. Yardéna is a true Christmas child in heart and soul as you might have noticed by now. Together with our family we continued these Christmas traditions.

The Christmas Girls

We even expanded them with Secret Santa (bringing Christmas packets to people without them knowing who it came from) and many more things. In the past we were very active with different outreach projects in collaboration with church and many volunteers. We make and handed out Christmas packets, joined choirs and Christmas musicals, did some Christmas styling and decorating for churches, homes and many more. The start of our Christmas blog was the beginning of the next step to expand the idea of The Christmas Spirit. Something that came natural to us now had a chance to grow. Within a year we were able to add more activities. It currently gives us another day job. This is only the beginning since we have plenty of plans. Ho ho ho.

The Spirit of Christmas

Christmas isn’t something you do alone. Others make it a true party that signifies hope, joy, love and watching out for one another. Christmas isn’t Christmas without Outreach. A lot of times we forget that there is a lot of silent poverty and loneliness among people. Especially during the holidays and even more so during the pandemic when we can’t receive a lot of people at home or travel much. We would love to give everyone a wonderful Christmas. We believe that if we do our part, others will follow and the movement will grow. The “pay it forward” mindset.

Spread The Christmas Light

Despite Covid, there are still plenty of things we can do to give our contribution and we’re asking you to do the same. We have made another list with ideas for you down below.

Bake/buy Christmas cookies or cakes and give them to a neighbour, friend or someone else who can use them.

Give a nice set of candles to someone in the neighbourhood or take a card, Christmas packet or present to a single person or a lonely family.

Write a nice Christmas card! Send a card to 10 extra people. Het ouderenfonds (elderly fund in Holland) has another wonderful Christmas Card project for lonely elders. How fun is that to send a card?

Be a Secret Santa and bring a Christmas packet to someone who needs it. Ring the doorbell but make sure the person doesn’t see you!

Sign up to help for a day at the foodbank. They can always use the extra hands and welcome the help (if the Covid regulations allow it).

Are you very busy this year? See if you can give a donation instead. We put a list together of a few charities that can use your support:

*The list below is made out of charities that reside in the Netherlands. If you’re residence is elsewhere, check which local charities are near you.

Voedselbank (foodbank)

The foodbank has different ways for you to be of assistance. You can make a donation but you can also collect canned food and give them to the foodbank. Another way is to raise money yourself for the foodbank. There are plenty of other ways to help. Check out their website for more information.

KiKa

Support Stichting Kinderen Kankervrij (cancer fund for kids in Holland). KiKa collects funds for renewed research and other activities for child cancer focussed on less pain during treatments, more cures and a better quality of life at a later age. KiKa also focusses on lectures about child cancer. You can make a donation or see which KiKa activities are on the agenda. Look here for more info.

CliniClowns

The CliniClowns do everything they can to give sick children, children with a handicap or elders with dementia a chance to be themselves again. They have several ways for donations for individuals, companies & schools. There is also an option to set up your own project. Click here for the information.

Stichting Jarig Job (birthday boy)

In The Netherlands there are children every year who can’t celebrate their birthdays because there isn’t enough money. This charity helps these children by giving them a birthday box worth 35 euros. This holds everything that’s needed for a real birthday, at home AND at school! Annually more than 80.000 childres celebrate their birthday with the help of Stichting Jarige Job! This charity has many options aswell for you to help out. Find all the information on their website.

Salvation army

The Netherlands counts some 32.000 homeless people. The shelters are full and the road to fitting living arrangements takes too long. Salvation army wants for everyone to find their own place. Because with a place of their own, no one will sleep on the streets anymore. There are many ways to help. You can donate your time, money or clothes. If you prefer to become a volunteer or some other way to help then check out their website for more details.

“Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.”

Kathy Calvin

The holidays aren’t warm days for everyone. The past year plenty has happened to all of us We have had our own struggles. Some are still in the middle of their storms. We can’t take away these harsh times. We can however give our contribution and be there for another. It doesn’t need to be a big thing. It’s the gesture that counts. Sometimes we don’t realize how much our actions mean to another.

Despite everything that has happened this year, we challenge you to make a difference. If we all do our part many wonderful things can happen.

What are you going to do this year?

Let us know in the comments or on our socials.

See you soon,

The Christmas Girls

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