Remember service during this season of giving

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To avoid getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, an attitude of service spreads Christmas cheer.

Michelle Bury, freshman from Highlands Ranch, Colo., celebrates the Christmas season with her family by inviting people from the local grocery or home improvement stores for Christmas dinner.

“There’s always someone from Home Depot or Walmart,” Bury said. “It’s always fun. You get to meet new people and hear about their life experiences. As long as there is food at our house, there is someone there to enjoy it with us.”

Others donate items to support their communities.

Katherine Ledbetter, 18, a dance education major from Provo, used to donate a tree to the Festival of Trees every year with her family. The proceeds would go to the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake.

Christine Assily, a communications major from San Francisco, said her home ward is doing something special for babies in need this Christmas.

“Children [in the ward] will make blankets for hospitals in our area for newborns that are leaving the hospital,” she said. “The adults are collecting baby clothes from zero to a year for babies that leave the hospital with nothing but the hospital-issued onesie.”

Others do special things to help their own families. Christopher Heaton, a physics major from Lilburn, Ga., organized a blood drive last year with his family for his cousin who has cancer.

“He’s had to have a lot of different blood transfusions, so our goal was to be able to get enough people to donate to equal the amount he had received,” he said.

Spencer Cornett, a senior communications major from Seattle, said a charitable ward member he met while on his mission in Paris taught him about service. The member prepared lunches and invited all the missionaries in the city to help distribute them to needy people.

“For two Christmases we would wake up a little earlier than normal and meet with this brother and go out and deliver these sack lunches to the homeless or people who were working on Christmas morning and were¬†away from their families,” he said.

Ryan Kunz, a senior in the advertising program from Rigby, Idaho, said his family participates in a secret Santa for people in his town who might not have as much on Christmas. His family secretly drops off gifts to the families.

“[Christmas] is commemorating the birth of Christ, who gave us the greatest present ever, so it’s our way of showing our love and appreciation by giving each other gifts, especially those who need it,” Kunz said.

Whether it’s shoveling snow for a neighbor, volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating an old coat to the Salvation Army, everyone can help keep the spirit of giving alive during the holiday season by serving others.

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