Christmas JOY! Covid-19 Edition

Christmas JOY! Covid-19 Edition

by  Sue Brenton, edited by Linda D’Aloisio

I imagine we are all trying to work up some real feelings of joy as this Christmas in the time of COVID-19 approaches. In the absence of all the usual secular activities, we may find ourselves focusing more and more on “the reason for the season,” and that is certainly a good thing. Still, many of us are very likely missing some of the busy-ness and camaraderie related to special Epworth events such as the Cookie Walk, Yule Love It, Silent Auction, Gingerbread Contest, and Breakfast with Santa, most of which also served as fundraisers for Christmas Joy 365, which serves the community not only at Christmas time, but throughout the year. Due to the corona virus, Christmas Joy 365 will look very different this year, challenging us to summon up the special spirit of Christmas during a time when we cannot actively participate in activities and events that have made Christmas Joy so successful over the years.

How exactly will it look? Here’s what we know: We will be bringing Christmas Joy to needy children in the Cape Henlopen School District and West Rehoboth, mainly in the form of gift cards. We will also be providing gift certificates to needy families to use for purchasing their holiday dinner. Instead of choosing Giving Tree tags or making cookies or buying tickets, those of us who are able to do so are being asked to be especially generous in our donations to be used for the purchase of gift cards and gift certificates.

Here are a few things to think about as you plan your Christmas Joy giving this year:

  • Is one of your favorite activities the Cookie Walk? In addition to all the calories you are saving this year, estimate what you would normally spend on making or buying those treats and add it to your Christmas Joy contribution.
  • Do you usually take one or more tags from the Christmas Joy Giving Tree and shop for the items listed on the tag? This is a favorite activity for those who enjoy shopping and then picturing the happiness of a child or adult who receives the item(s) they want or need, perhaps with a few little surprise extras. This year we will need to try to imagine the gift card recipients’ happiness at being able to use those gift cards to buy gifts or provide a special meal for their families.
  • Did you enjoy participating in past silent auctions or craft fairs that benefited Christmas Joy? Estimate how much you might have spent on things there and add that amount to your donation.
  • Did COVID-19 force the cancellation of a big trip or vacation this year? You won’t feel quite so disappointed at what you missed if you think about the many who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and share some of that savings with them.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in very different ways this year, let us be inspired and led by his words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)