BYU students share how the holiday season fosters the giving spirit

A decoration candy cane hangs on a Christmas tree. Three BYU students shared their experiences with Christmas miracles throughout their lives. (Megan Zaugg)

The holiday season is often characterized by stories of acts of service and Christmas miracles that bring joy to people’s lives.

Three BYU students shared their own experiences with this Christmas spirit in their own lives, describing how selfless acts of service have affected them this time of year.

BYU student Nicole Newman said there was a time when Christmas was financially difficult for her family. When Christmas day came, Newman, her mother and her sister only had few gifts to open. 

Newsman said there was a knock at the door, and when they opened it, they saw an overflowing amount of bags and gifts on their porch. 

“We found such kind, considerate and generous gifts inside. A family that found themselves to be more fortunate than us used their Christmas season to reach out and give a little something to my family,” Newman said.

Newman said she hopes to one day return the favor to someone else. 

BYU student Emily Diehl said she left homemade gift baskets with baked treats and other Christmas-themed items on the doorsteps of friends she has not seen for awhile. 

“It made me feel happy knowing that I was doing something that would make other people happy,” Diehl said. “You never know what someone could be going through during the holidays so doing something nice never hurts.” 

BYU student Aaron Laitinen celebrates Christmas in a way different from most. His parents would teach him and his four siblings the importance of gratitude and giving. 

Rather than receiving Christmas gifts, his family would use the money they had to buy gifts to give to charities and people in need. Laitinen has done it this way his whole life. 

“As a kid, my parents would help us buy gifts and presents to take to hospitals … to give to kids in need,” Laitinen said. “I can truly say that I am beyond grateful for this experience … I truly love kids and know that they need these gifts a lot more than we do.”

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