One of my favorite songs during the holiday season - the mentions of comfort and joy; and the mention of true love and brotherhood always bring me to the true meaning of Christmas. In our community we have a place called the Crisis Nursery where children can find a safety net during times of strife in their lives. Single parents have a partner in childcare, home visits by counselors to assist with making sure their child/children are developing in the manner they are supposed to, and the Crisis Nursery meets the needs of children by helping to supply diapers, formula, etc.
In an effort to support the Crisis Nursery our family makes it an annual tradition to shop at the holiday shop where our children go in with their list and their money and they buy for us. They get to choose from donated gifts and it's sometimes very interesting when you open your gifts on Christmas day.....my husband got a toy golf set from Noah last year and it was just something that Noah had actually wanted for himself! ha! Logan, our oldest child, puts more thought into it than Noah and is very sweet with the gifts he chooses.
I am happy to report that Logan's 2nd grade class has decided to give gifts to the Crisis Nursery this year in lieu of doing a gift exchange. Logan was familiar with their holiday shop and the concept behind it, so he was really excited about this. And as a mother I am really happy that the concept of the "season of giving" is being taught in other places in my children's lives because there is a better chance of the message getting through! ha!
I urge you to find places in your area that do similar things - there are always bell ringers, the angel tree at the mall, serving food at shelters - whatever is appropriate for your children and family. Find a way to bring the message of true love and brotherhood into your traditions during the holiday season. I know that it's not always easy and if you have fallen on hard times yourself, don't forget that these resources are out there if you need them. Just don't forget to pay it forward when you get back on your feet. ; )