Sharing the Christmas Spirit for Longer than a Day


As part of our Challenge the Gap program exploring common ground with other worldviews, guest blogger Sarah Reinhard shares this reminder, for believers and nonbelievers alike, to embrace the spirit of giving throughout the year.

I usually start to get into some sort of Christmas spirit in the “smile and sing and enjoy myself” sort of way on about December 24.

The world around me has been decorated for months, but I’m just starting to warm to the idea. It’s not just a tendency to be overwhelmed by projects that are impossible for me to finish; it’s also a chip on my shoulder that’s about as big as the attitude I have to go with it.

Over the years, especially in the years that I’ve been involved with a charitable organization that helps the poor and needy in our area, I’ve come to see that Christmas is a time when people seem to find it easy to be generous.

What’s not so easy, at least in my part of the world, is remembering that those poor and needy are still around in the dead of January and the freezing cold of February. December isn’t really such a rough month, all told. But February? It’s brutal.

Temperatures can slip into the negative figures and many people have forgotten all about those who have no home, struggle to put food on their table, or need socks (not to mention shoes!) for their children.

So often, though, we ignore the need of those who are most in our midst—those who are our neighbors. Can you think of an elderly neighbor or a lonely widow? How about someone who has their hands full as a single parent or with crazy working hours?

This Christmas, I would challenge you to think beyond the colorful wrapping paper and the warm feelings you have that day. Stretch them out and share them for a few more months. Push yourself to help those around you—your fellow humans!—and find the joy that can be discovered from making Christmas a frame of mind.

What you do can be as simple as making a plate of cookies and sharing an hour or two visiting once every few weeks. It can be as easy as making an extra trip to the grocery store every month and donating your purchases—and your time—to a local soup kitchen.

So often, I picture charity as something that has to be huge and impossible, when, in fact, it stems from the heart and our common humanity. Helping another person—whether someone in your family or a perfect stranger in a soup line—will pull you outside of yourself and spread the cheer of the holiday season throughout the year.

Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom, and writer who lives in Ohio on a small farm. She’s the author of Welcome Baby Jesus: Advent and Christmas Reflections for Families, as well as a number of upcoming titles, and the sister-in-law of our Director of Special Projects, Brittany Shoots-Reinhard. You can read more at her blog,