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When I walk down the streets these days I see a lot of people buying Christmas gifts. Why do we give each other presents during Christmas? And why does giving give us such a good feeling? The answer to the first question is that the main reason we have the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas–it’s to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the three Wise Men. The Wise Men gave Jesus frankincense, gold and myrrh. And we feel good when we give because giving connects us to others, which makes it possible to create stronger communities. It is actually proven that giving is connected to happiness, health and personal growth.
During Christmas children believe that Santa Claus delivers presents to them. The Ayo! team came up with an idea to dress up as Santa and give away free cookies on Yerevan’s Northern Avenue made by Ayo!’s very own Helena Melkonian. Along with some volunteers, (thank you Hovig, Arpa, Bedig, Arman, Aram and Astghik!) we gathered at the FAR office and then took off, walking and singing songs like Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, along with some Armenian ones. I didn’t know the Armenian songs so I had to learn them first, which was quite hilarious, by the way. There was a Christmas market on Northern Ave. We gave people cookies as they were doing their Christmas shopping. At first they were really surprised. After all, it’s not everyday someone just gives you cookies for free. They thanked us and wished us a Merry Christmas. It was very fun and the recipients seemed generally happy to receive a cookie.
Later that day we also had an Ayo! Christmas celebration with all our Ayo! friends at a restaurant called Safran. When we arrived we warmed up with some hot glühwein. Then after eating the appetizers, we were entertained by a band called Little Bodies. It was very cozy and we enjoyed the music and the food. The whole event was free too, so once again we were giving. But also got something back as many people donated for our Tsitsikyan Music School Project, too.
On this day especially, I realized that giving makes me feel better. And since Christmas is the season of giving people are doing this even more. That is why I love Christmas. Christmas is a time of giving (and receiving, hah!), lights, Christmas trees and family. While I am sad that I won’t celebrate Christmas with my family in Holland this year I’m happy to have created a new family here in Armenia. I’m sure it’s going to be awesome to celebrate Christmas in the Hayrenik (fatherland). So, for all of you have fun celebrating Christmas this year and if you like giving as much as I do, please don’t forget to support Ayo!’s Music School Project!