Christmas – most of us feel good when we hear that word. I’m no different, and always enjoy this special time of year. I most look forward to the popular Christmas markets, and the biscuits, mulled wine and days of rest and relaxation. While the days leading up to Christmas are not particularly reflective times and tend to be rather hectic instead, after the big day you have more time for family and friends. Things slow down a bit and you get the chance to see out the year in peace – a bit like catching your breath after a long run.
As a child, my Christmas priorities were of course quite different: My advent calendar (okay, so I still like opening the doors), Father Christmas and Christmas presents on the big day were causes of extreme excitement every year. I’m sure I wasn’t and am not alone here though – I imagine most children’s eyes light up when they think about Christmas.
However, while some parents shower their children with presents at Christmas, for other families the space below the Christmas tree remains empty at this time of year. Social differences in Germany are never as pronounced at any other time of year as they are at Christmas. What I really like about Christmas is that it is also a time for giving, and not just in theory. After all, people donate more in December than at any other time of the year.
MANN+HUMMEL’s employees also do their bit to help out their fellow man at Christmas. In Ludwigsburg, just like the year before, we have joined forces with Caritas to run a wishing tree campaign. Children from socially disadvantaged families who are supported and looked after by Caritas provided us with a list of their wishes for Christmas. As a trainee at Corporate Communications, it was my job this year to take care of the organisation. It surprised me how wide-ranging their wishes were – whether teddy bears, computer games or dolls’ prams, there were all sorts of items on the Christmas lists. Employees in Ludwigsburg got to decide which wishes they would make come true, and throughout the month of December they have been putting their presents under Christmas trees at our gates. A star handmade by the children was hung up for each present. The Christmas trees gradually filled up, making a really festive atmosphere. We then gave the presents to Caritas before the big day arrived, and the staff there will make sure that the children get their presents on time.
I think it’s great that so many employees took part in the campaign – in total we have made almost 250 Christmas wishes come true!
Although it is true to say that Christmas is not celebrated in every country in which MANN+HUMMEL is based, many of the other locations take the opportunity to organise charity campaigns at the end of the year. Our colleagues in China, for instance, have been supporting a school in Shanghai for a number of years. This year the school’s top pupils were awarded scholarships by MANN+HUMMEL. Our Marklkofen location in Bavaria, meanwhile, is collaborating with a local food bank. Each year around Christmas time, employees bring food to work, which is then donated to the Arnsdorf food bank and given out to those who need it. At our Laval location in France, employees have actually been raising money the entire year to donate it at Christmas. For every day without an accident, two euros were saved across all the departments. From the hundredth day without an accident, this daily amount became four euros. In December, each department then chose an organisation to which the money would be donated, with the donations handed over as part of an official ceremony.
I really enjoyed the wishing tree campaign myself. The large amount of positive feedback we have received and the employees’ commitment to their fellow man has taught me that helping others makes you happy!