6. Spreading Goodwill at Christmas The real meaning of Christmas, the season of good cheer, is about giving especially to provide some assistance to those who need help for their daily survival and who therefore don't have the material resources to enjoy the Christmas season. The importance of giving to those in need during Christmas is embodied in the story of Jesus' birth, which is the reason Christmas is celebrated. For Christians, Jesus was born to save mankind from sin by giving everlasting Salvation to all who believe in the Word of God and chose to follow the principles for living in the Bible. Jesus therefore gave in the ultimate way - he offered himself as a sacrifice for every living person. Christians therefore believe that Christmas should be about following the example of Jesus by giving of oneself to others, especially to those who are in need. The Christmas season should therefore be about spreading goodwill and good cheer. This purpose of Christmas is very significant because research by social service organizations has shown that Christmas happens to be a high time for depression among the have-nots, among people with problems and others who just don't have the means and resources to enjoy the merriment of the holidays. The hundreds of Santa letters written by children are often a sad testament to the many unmet needs of families and individuals during the festive Christmas and holiday times. Just about every child is told the story of Santa Claus, or hears about him because his presence is everywhere at Christmas. And up to the age of 7 to 8 years, most children believe the story about Santa Claus bringing toys and other gifts. That's the reason why so many young children often write letters to Santa at Christmas time in which the innocently plead for toys and other gifts because they their parents or other relatives will not be able to give them those Christmas toys or Christmas gifts that they want. Thankfully there are many volunteer and charitable efforts carried out by groups and corporations that seek to fulfill the needs of children and also of adults during the Christmas season. One of the most notable organizations that do such charitable work is the Salvation Army, which has a history of giving service to those in need. According to The Salvation Army's website, the organization as known today was started in 1865 by a Methodist minister, William Booth and his wife Catherine. They formed a group that preached, provided food and shelter to the homeless, the hungry and to alcoholics in need of recovery services. The services were provided in London's East End. Booth and his followers, first known as 'The Christian Mission,' started to use The Salvation Army name in 1878. The Salvation Army is now uniquely associated with the Christmas season through its many representatives who dress up as Santa Claus and stand outside retail establishments ringing their bells while they kindly seek donations from shoppers to help the poor at Christmas. Individuals also play Santa Claus at Christmas time and help out those in need by donating toys and gifts through their companies, other business enterprises such as banks or through their local municipality. These groups usually all have a box or an area where new toys or clothing can be dropped off and the items are then donated to families in need or to social service providers for distribution to the needy during the Christmas season. Along with much charitable giving at Christmas time, other public interest groups also work hard to inform and educate consumers about avoiding the after Christmas blues. This is often experienced in January when the bills and debts are due as a result of all the spending, much of it on credit, that is done for the holidays. These groups try to spread goodwill and cheer in a different way. They try to provide educational information on spending responsibly during the Christmas season with the hope that the happiness and good feeling enjoyed during the season can also carry over after Christmas and not be spoiled by the burden of having huge bills to pay.