The Holiday's are HARD. I LOVE them. Don't get me wrong. I love the baking and the cooking and the shopping and the wrapping and the family gatherings. I love the sense of wonder you find in children at this time of year and the warm fuzzies you find in adults.
However, (you KNEW there had to be a however, Right?) for some reasons the Holidays also bring to the surface everyone's... ISSUES. Everything is intensified. Issues with your family, with yourself, with your pocket book and with society in general all seem so much WORSE during the Holidays. People die every... single... DAY. Yet, when it happens during the Holiday Season it seems so much more tragic. The impact of that death seems harder... lasts longer... is remembered more vividly.
I try to keep a positive mindset during the Holidays. I'm thankful for all that I have. I appreciate everything I can do. I also like to stop and reflect on how fortunate I and my family really are. But... (You KNEW there was a but, RIGHT? ) I can't help but think about those that aren't as lucky. Who can't give their kids a happy holiday be it for financial reasons or other things that may not be within their control.
Because my mind works the way it does, my husband and I have a tradition of doing... SOMETHING for someone else during this time of year. Its generally not someone we know. Often, we don't know their names or their full circumstances. Those things don't really matter to us. We just want to make things a little better for someone else because were things different... we could EASILY be in the same boat.
Last year we adopted 2 kids and made sure they had a Christmas. The year before we took two names off a tree at Walmart and bought something for those kids. This year I'm baking my arse off and sending the results to a random person in the army hoping that it eases their heart while away from those they love during the Holidays and hoping it lets them know their sacrifices aren't unappreciated or un-noticed.
My challenge for you is this:
One Random Act of Kindness. It can be for someone you know well or not at all. It doesn't matter. You can donate money, toys, food or time. Help and elderly person put up their decorations... Bake a pie or cake for a neighbor who's having a hard time.... Pay for the coffee of the person standing on the corner selling newspapers on the corner this chilly Sunday.... WHAT EVER. It doesn't have to be a huge gesture. Something small works as well. Make a small difference to someone... and then... encourage someone else to do the same.
I'm involving my mother in my efforts this year. She's helping me plan and bake. Shecky... his entire 2nd grade class is making Christmas Cards for soldiers to be sent with my package. His teacher is having them do it.
This isn't a new idea. The movie "Pay It Forward" put it forth in a massive way. There's a National Day of Kindness. However, (you HAD to know... cough... ) during the holidays seems to be a time it can be of most use to those who may need it the most. Join me, won't you?