I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving spent in the company of family and friends. Now, it’s time to bring the sentiment of Thanksgiving through the rest of the year. If we are not careful the Christmas season can become a commercial nuisance that loses its charm, magic and meaning. So, before you run out to the store, contemplate the reason for the season.
At this time of year I always think of what my mother tried to teach my sister and I. She said that the holidays are about being with your family not buying for your family. She said that when she was little they visited each relative and brought cookies instead of gifts and the visit was the gift not the cookies! She said that back then Christmas was relaxed and peaceful not hectic and thoughtless. They received one gift and often it was something that they needed like a warm coat and it was very much appreciated. I could see her now sitting in her chair trying to explain Christmas to her two children who insisted on caving in to the commercialism of a holiday that is filled with magic and beauty for those who understand its true meaning.
Well, it’s been many years and I think that my sister and I are finally learning the lesson that my Mom tried so hard to teach us. It comes in small increments though—two years ago we included other family members in our cookie baking day and now it has become a family tradition. This year we have agreed to buy less for each other and include gifts that can be used as family get togethers- like play tickets for the whole family. We will also have a Christmas movie night where we will all gather at someone’s house to watch our favorite Christmas movies and enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies. Each year we are getting closer and closer to the true meaning of this wonderful holiday. I think my Mom would be proud of our progress.
One thing that I have always done during the holiday season is to practice acts of random kindness. If you have never done it I can promise you that it will bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart. As a matter of fact, I urge caution as it can become addictive!
I started about 25 years ago, when I worked in a Day Care Center. One of our new students, a three year old boy named Anthony, was placed with us because his Mom was mentally challenged and his grandfather who was supposed to be caring for them was not. I discovered that this year there would be no Christmas for Anthony because the family could not afford it. So, I bought some gifts for Anthony and his Mom and sent them to their apartment anonymously. I swear I was happier than she was when Anthony’s Mom came to the center one day and shared with me what happened. She said that someone sent gifts to their house and she couldn’t wait to open them with Anthony on Christmas morning. As she left she said, “Maybe there really is a Santa Claus!”
It’s so easy to do something kind for someone and it’s even more fun to perform your act of kindness anonymously! You can choose a family in need, someone that is ill or someone that is just down on their luck and send them an anonymous gift with an uplifting note. I can assure you that you will be uplifted along with the person you choose.
Of course, there are many other things you can do. Perhaps you can pay for someone’s toll or put a quarter in a meter that is about to expire. Maybe you can leave an inspiring book in a public place with a note attached to it asking them to read the book and then pass it on. Come on, you’re creative, think of some wonderful acts of kindness and then share them with us in a letter to the editor. If we do this right, our community may just become the happiest place in America!
Our next meeting will be on Thursday, December 11, and it will be Christmas party with treats and Christmas prizes so please tell your neighbors and mark the date on your calendar. We hope to see everyone at 7:30 p.m. at PS 14. Come and celebrate the holidays with your friends and neighbors!
Our Christmas Tree Lighting will be on Saturday, December 13. We will begin to gather at Sampson-Schneider Park at about 4:30 to enjoy coffee, hot chocolate and cookies as we wait for Santa to arrive. Each child 12 and under who is present will receive a gift from Santa (limited quantities) so be there early and celebrate the holidays with us!