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Make Holiday Wishes Come True

12/02/2014 03:12AM ● Published by Family Features

The holiday season is a magical time and there are some simple ways to share in the season’s spirit of goodwill and generosity.

Let this season of giving take on a new form by participating in a simple act of kindness. Whether you want to give back locally or on a larger scale, there is never a shortage of people in need of your compassion.

Granting Wishes
As part of their annual “Believe” campaign, you can visit your local Macy’s store and drop a stamped letter, addressed to “Santa at the North Pole,” into the special Santa Mail letterbox. Letters to Santa can also be created and sent online at macys.com/believe, making it easier than ever to give back. For each letter collected in-store and online through December 24, the retailer will donate $1, up to $1 million, to Make-A-Wish, helping to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Since the campaign was introduced seven years ago, it has raised more than $8.7 million to benefit the organization.

How It Started
The campaign was inspired by the true story of 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, who wrote a letter to the New York Sun newspaper in 1897 asking if there really was a Santa Claus. The paper editor, Francis P. Church, responded, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist …”

These words became the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language. The touching story created generations of believers and provided inspiration for the "Yes, Virginia" animated special, available at Macy’s as a DVD and illustrated storybook. In addition to the letter collection drive, you can also give back by purchasing these gifts in stores or online, with 10 percent of the purchase price going to Make-A-Wish.

The Power of a Wish
One of the world’s leading children’s charities, Make-A-Wish serves children in every community in the United States and its territories. The organization grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

Since its inception in 1980, it has granted more than 254,000 wishes. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family.

Generosity Comes in Many Forms
There are many ways to embrace the giving spirit of the season. Other ways to take part include helping at a local soup kitchen, “adopting” a family in need or even writing letters of appreciation to mail carriers, servicemen and others who help you throughout the year. For more information about this year’s campaign or to learn more about helping make children's wishes come true, visit macys.com/believe.

Sponsored by Macy's

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