In December 2006, I was able to go with a wonderful bunch of college-aged people with the group Kaiizen to the El Sauzal Orphanage in Mexico. I had gone several times before just for weekend trips to play with the children living there and work on various service projects. This trip was special though. It was our Christmas visit. Many of us worked to fundraise money, went shopping for items we gathered from the children's wish lists, and wrapped the gifts. There were even a few brave guys who dressed as Santa and his elves.
After playing/working all day, it was time for Santa to bring presents! Volunteers stood in two lines facing each other and held hands to create a tunnel and after each gift was handed to the child whose name was on the tag, they went through the tunnel.
I am sure each child loved the present he/she received, however, I am more certain the look on their faces as they individually went through and received attention was priceless. The tunnel of love soon became a tradition in visits to come.
This experience helped me realize that because I have been given much, I too must give. I learned Christmas isn't just about singing carols, seeing lights, putting up decorations, making cookies, attending parties, and getting presents. Rather it is a time of reflection on the birth of the Savior, a time of celebration and generosity.
"The Grinch saw the good in Christmas when he learned to look past its worldly trappings. If we do the same, we can, with the Grinch, proclaim: “Maybe Christmas . . . doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!” (DIETER F. UCHTDORF, "Seeing Christmas through New Eyes," 2010 First Presidency Christmas Devotional)
Since that Christmas visit, I have learned to be a little more kind, a little more generous, and lot more grateful for the little things I have and the opportunity to share with others.