Generosity of Islanders shines through

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Christmas miracles happen daily during this special holiday season

CHRISTMAS PARADE

Every Christmas season, the generosity of Islanders never ceases to amaze. Amid all the glitz and glitter, and the much-feared commercialization of the season, the real spirit of Christmas always manages to shine forth brightly across the province from tip to tip.

The CBC turkey campaign for the food bank invariably gets off to a slow start, causing us to wonder if the lofty goal of over 4,000 birds will ever be reached. But without fail, it does. The Christmas card story that unfolded out of Summerside where Mark Enman helped perform another Miracle on 34th Street for his ailing parents, grabbed national headlines.

Donations to toys for tots and the numerous campaigns in support of the Salvation Army to ensure every child gets a gift, all warm the heart. The Hospice Palliative Care Let Their Light Shine allows hope to flourish amid the tragedy of cancer, projects by the P.E.I. Storm, the teddy bear toss by the Charlottetown Islanders and the Western Capitals food drive demonstrate that our major sports teams all get into the Christmas spirit.

Pat Robinson’s annual Christmas puddings campaign to help the Humane Society and other charities, Danny and Martie Murphy’s festive fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society, and the public and private donations to help heat the homes of Islanders in need, are annual good news stories. And we have the parades, pageants, concerts, special entertainment, a holiday main stage show at Confederation Centre, holiday blood bank drives, paramedics filling up ambulances and police filling up vans with donations, presents for manor residents and Be A Santa to a Senior are yet more examples of Islanders’ generosity.

At the end of the day, it’s all about a child’s wide-eyed amazement which helps us celebrate a special birth at Christmas. The holiday is above giving and sharing with those in need, and for families to come together, much like the story which started it all more than 2,000 years ago.

There still is a Santa Claus

( - The Evening Patriot, Dec. 24, 1963)

Another year has rolled around and tomorrow is Christmas. It’s a magic word for children and it has an enduring meaning for the very young all over the world, wherever the grand old Christmas Story is told, and the beautiful and wonderful traditions of Christmas are maintained and observed as a way of life.

Television programs are more often criticized than admired, but a Sunday evening show that brought the Virginia of the New York Sun’s famous “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial to the magic screen stirred timeless memories in many hearts across the land. It gives a solid sense of satisfaction to be able to say that with conviction, for modern Christmas seasons have become so commercialized that even the beautiful and timeless Christmas carols almost seem to grate upon tired minds as they are played over and over and over again on the never-ceasing turntables of every radio and TV station whose music comes into the homes across the nation.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist.”

There was something altogether beautiful and wholesome hearing Virginia — she is now Mrs. Virginia O’Hanlon Douglas, a retired school teacher — exclaim enthusiastically, 66 years later “My own reaction was absolute elation . . . now I had overwhelming proof that Santa did exist . . . I still believe in Santa at the age of 74 years.”

And Santa will continue to exist just as long as there is love and generosity and appreciation of the real things of life in the hearts of men and women everywhere.

Organizations: CBC, Salvation Army, Humane Society Alzheimer Society Confederation Centre

Geographic location: Summerside, 34th Street, Virginia

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