Giving Meaning to the Season

Wishing your kids a happy and helpful holiday season.

The holidays are full of traditions: cards and parties and dinners and lights. For most, these are all celebrations of our families and, for some of us, our faith. As a time to take account of all of our blessings , the Norris household looks forward to the holiday season for many reasons, one of them being the opportunity to help others.

My husband and I feel it’s important to show our son that a community lends a hand to help neighbors in need. We try to model compassion year-round, but the holidays gives us a tangible example that we can be related to his limited world. We’ve explained in high-level, 4-year-old terms that the holidays can be times of great joy, but also a time of great trial if you are someone without a home, food, or loved ones to share all the great things he loves about Christmastime. I’m not sure he really understands it, but he does see the commitment we share in helping others. And I think that’s laying the altruistic foundation that I hope he’s building a helpful life upon.

I know that we are my son’s main role models, especially at this age, and I hope he sees the joy we find in being able to share our blessings with our neighbors, whether its time or talents. There are a handful of things we do each year, including donating food; participating in an angel tree; and buying new coats for the local drives. But helping with the Christmas Wish Project is probably the most rewarding experience.

A special group of ladies started the project more than 25 years ago. Their goal: Provide a special Christmas morning for those who crave some normalcy. The Christmas Wish Project works with foster care parents and agencies to provide Santa-List gifts for kids in the foster care system throughout Tarrant County. For almost a decade now, I’ve helped as much as I can. Each year, I’ve read the kids’ heartbreaking stories with sadness … and yes, sometimes, anger. The year I had Will, I literally, and uncharacteristically, cried at the circumstances some of these little ones are dealing with at such an early age. Having my precious baby warm and safe at home, I couldn’t understand. Every child deserves to have someone feel safe and loved more than anything in the world. Fortunately these kids are finding love, consistency, value in their foster homes. The love and care that foster parents bring to a child, coupled with the work the CWP ladies do, restore my faith in our world each year.

There are so many worthy causes you can introduce you kids to — want to help your kids find the meaning of the season? I think it’s fairly simple:

  1. Pick your passion.
  2. Talk about it … a lot.
  3. Get everyone involved. Offer up your time, talent or funds.
  4. Witness the joy in your child’s eyes when they see that they are big enough, smart enough, important enough to change the world.

Is there a specific charity or event you participate in during the holidays that our readers should know more about? Please let us know in the comments!


Jennifer and her hubby, Michael agree that Fort Worth is the best place to have a family. For the past two decades Jennifer has been writing about her loves — music, food and Fort Worth — for local newspapers, magazines, websites and weeklies. This is her first opportunity to write about a new love, her son Will, and the influence his arrival has made on her view of the world … especially Fort Worth. Keeping him in mind, she has unlocked little treasures and adventures she didn’t know existed in this town and continues to discover great gems to share with her little one. She lives in the Cultural District with Michael, Will and her favorite girl — her lab, Tatum.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here