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Christmas about more than gifts
Focus should be on giving, appreciating others
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Thanksgiving has came and gone and the spirit of the holiday season is officially here. Everywhere you look there are lights, images of Ol’ Saint Nick and endless amounts of red and green. An array of children write massive lists of toys, Barbie dolls, actions figures and big trucks; while teenagers plead their cases of how they just simply want money this year.

The big day comes and there are beautifully wrapped presents under the tree.

Christmas is the biggest holiday of them all.

Terry J. Bowen Elementary in Louisville, Kentucky, is taking a different approach on things. Young Edge representative Kassidy Thomas sat in on her old school’s “Toys for other Tots” program.

The program is held every year the week of Thanksgiving. It is a service-based project that the class of 2009 started up, and the tradition has continued going ever since.

Toys are collected and donated to less fortunate children inside the Jefferson County community. Bowen students, as well as the toy-receiving children, take four hours out of the day to play and bond with one another.

Bowen Principal Lisa Wathen explains “Toys for other Tots” as “a way for our children to not just receive but give in the holiday season. Service is for all ages, and I’m glad to see the large turnout this year.”   

A PTA mother explains the event as “a room full of children of all ages, ethnicities, races, religions and no judgment in site. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.”

Slater Elementary in South Atlanta has a few outstanding students who have a rare and unique reflection on what Christmas truly means.  

11-year-old Jordan Sharp feels Christmas is “the day to give back. This year I asked my mother if we could go to feed the homeless breakfast at the shelter before presents.”

This kind and selfless gesture was his way of saying “thank you for all my blessings.”

Fourth-grader Jamie Wilson is a phenomenal student who enjoys reading her Bible each night before bed and plans to finish by the age of 17. Jamie told Young Edge, “Christmas is Jesus’ birthday! Every Dec. 25 my family and I sing happy birthday to him before opening our presents.”

We could all learn something from these wise yet young children. Give this holiday season. Show someone you care. Give unexpectedly.

The best gifts aren’t the most expensive gifts, but the heartfelt gifts. Students all across the world should realize Christmas isn’t all about receiving nice things. It’s a time to show others how much they truly mean to you, a token of appreciation.

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