This Black Holiday Tradition Reminds Us Community Is Important Year Round

We are part of a global community, and how we care for one another matters. Ever gotten a stocking or bag with an apple, an orange, some walnuts, a candy cane, or some variation of this at Christmas? There’s more to this Black holiday tradition than just a nice holiday snack.

This Black Holiday Tradition Reminds Us Community Is Important Year Round
Via Pxfuel

For as long as just about anyone can remember, Christmas treat bags have been a staple in countless Black households. The bags first made an appearance during the Great Depression, when Black families were suffering from poverty.

Black church congregations came together to support and help one another whenever we experienced white terrorism and discrimination. During Christmas, treat bags were given to all families after church services, and the meaning behind these bags is all about community.

The bags are actually part of the St. Nicolas fable, too.  St. Nicolas was a wealthy man who served others. When he found that a man was too poor to give his daughters an appropriate marriage dowry, he dropped gold coins through the window. The oranges and candy represent this act of caring.

The bags helped ensure healthy food access. Fresh fruit was not always available on demand year-round. The Christmas bags ensured delicacies and seasonal fruits were shared by everyone in the community.

The treat bag tradition reinforces some of the values critical to building a stronger Black community: mutual support, spirituality, and kindness. As the holiday season gets underway, just remember that caring for our community is the greatest gift we can give each other.

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