As Christmas approaches, some in Hollywood and the media are unabashedly twisting the holiday to fit an agenda. But amidst the negativity, other media outlets are celebrating Christmas by reporting on good deeds.
While they don’t always make the big headlines, Americans are spreading Christmas cheer across the nation. They embody Christmas as a celebration of life – a celebration that the media should cover not only now, but also throughout the year.
Here are five heartwarming stories from this month:
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Americans from across the country volunteered at Arlington National Cemetery, a local Fox affiliate and WTOP reported. These people braved the bitter cold to place more than 245,000 wreaths on gravesites in honor of veterans who served our nation.
A representative from Wreaths Across America, the nonprofit that organized the event, stressed that the day commemorated service members in a special way.
“We were really looking for a tangible way to be able to honor their service, and to really show their families that they haven’t been forgotten,” Bree Kingsbury told WTOP.
And it doesn’t happen just in Arlington. According to its website, Wreaths for America provides wreaths at more than 1,200 other cemeteries across the nation.
In Kentucky, two non-profits joined forces to help children visit their fathers staying in jail over Christmas. According to The Richmond Register, The Glover Foundation and Toys for Tots organized the Saturday event where children could also meet Santa Claus and open gifts.
“We’ve become so desensitized to people in jail,” said Russell Glover of The Glover Foundation. “They love their kids, and this shouldn’t mean they can’t see them, especially at the holidays.”
Correspondent Shannon Holbrook described the scene of “children sitting on their daddies’ laps with their arms wrapped around the men’s necks, smothering them with kisses and cramming in as many cuddles as time would permit.”
But the children weren’t the only ones overjoyed.
“This means the world to me,” said one father. “It is heartwarming to know there are still good people in our community that think of us and our families, too.”
In tears, the fiancée of one father said of their kids, “They miss him so much — I’m just so grateful for this.”
Oklahoma police partnered with the non-profit Heroes with Hope on Dec. 17 to surprise a driver with gifts, reported KXII News 12. As one woman drove to pick up her two children from school, police stopped her.
“Her first response was, oh no, do you have a present for me this time? In reference to a ticket,” Melissa Woolly, the director of Heroes with Hope, remembered. “And he said, actually we have a lot of presents for you.”
As they handed her nearly a dozen gifts, the mother started crying. Woolly explained that the woman was a single parent struggling to provide for her children after they had escaped a domestic abuse situation.
“[I]t was very heartwarming,” Woolly added. “Not only to just bless her and her family, but to share the joy of Christmas.”
One little girl from Connecticut wanted to give gifts, rather than receive them, this Christmas, reported News 12 Westchester.
Because she has an auto-immune disease, Zoey Seferi is familiar with her local hospital, Maria Fareri Children Hospital in Valhalla. And this Christmas, she wanted to present her friends staying there with gifts.
A car dealership, Danbury Kia, found out about Seferi and organized a toy drive to turn her dream into reality.
Her mother, Amanda Seferi, stressed, “It brought tears of joy to my eyes that everyone wanted to participate and make sure her wish came true.”
While customers shop at Russo’s grocery in Massachusetts, they may just hear Gilly Assunção singing “O Holy Night,” People magazine recently reported.
Every year, the store hires a singer to perform during the holidays, according to Karen Russo, the daughter of the owner. But this year, they discovered that one of their regular employees was perfect for the job.
As he helped do a sound check for the hired musical act, Assunção, a 23-year-old from Brazil, began singing himself.
“I hear this incredible operatic sound coming from the greenhouse,” Karen’s sister Christina Russo said. “I kept walking closer and I thought it was definitely some kind of tape recording. Then I saw it was Gilly standing there with a microphone.”
Assunção later revealed he was a singer in Brazil, but had stopped once he came to the United States. His dream is to one day attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston. But until then, he’ll continue singing at Russo’s.