I love this time of year. No, not for the weather. (I **HATE** it) Not for the rushing around, or the depleted bank account, or deciding which event to go to, or finding something for my parents for their Christmas gift (which is damn near impossible to do).
I do love seeing snow fall (as long as I’m inside and don’t have to go anywhere), and peppermint mocha lattes from Starbucks (which can only be purchased AFTER Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition). I love seeing the decorations, and the baking. I love the sense of closure the end of the year brings where I can categorize and metaphorically put the bad stuff behind me and move on with the good. Reassess my own life, make changes. It’s a good thing.
But more important than that, this is the season to give. I give all year long in some form. I like to do it. It doesn’t have to be giving of money. Giving of time, giving of excess, giving of self. That’s the best kind of giving. And this time of year puts the focus on the needs of many, even though their needs are constant all year long.
I’m knitting scarves for our church to give to homeless people. I’m not very good at it, but I can do it enough to resemble a scarf. It gives me practice and them a warm swath of cotton for their head or neck. I hope they forgive me if I have a dropped stitch or it’s the wrong color. I’m doing my best.
As I have mentioned before, my family is heavily involved with The Salvation Army. Today is our family Ringing of the Bell. We do it every year the day before Thanksgiving. We all take shifts. I bring mini candy canes to give to the kids who sheepishly walk up and drop a quarter in the bucket. (Adults can have them too! Who am I to deny a candy cane at Christmas time?) And we smile, and thank those who walk by, whether they give folding money, or change, or nothing at all. I wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas. It costs me nothing but my time. It helps countless people.
We also help with a program through the SA called the Christmas Cheer program, where we pass out food and presents to those who need help this year. We’ve done it for years and years and years. The lines have grown so much in the past 3-5 years that just looking at the line will break your heart. Looking at the those who are desperate for a meal and a toy, who walk by with tears in their eyes because they are so full of gratitude, it can bring the strongest, most cynical among us to their knees. It is one of my favorite days of the year, and again, it costs me nothing but my time.
Every one reading this blog did one thing, just one thing, to help their community just think of how that could change our world. It can change an outlook, it could give hope, and it can make you appreciate what your blessings are in a world shouting that you need more. Helping those around me is the best gift I can give.