I’m sure you’ve seen them: 10 Great Christmas Gifts, 5 Things to Do With Your Family, 1001 Great Christmas Quotes. Of course, I’ve made those up (maybe they exist, but that’s not my point.) We all fall for the 5 or 10 step programs, ideas, gifts…whatever. So I decided to not do that. Here are just a couple of ideas about Christmas.
Wander the Mall and Enjoy
Far too often we’re all hustling and bustling, lists in hand, credit card zeroed down, sprint shoes on, and intent in our purpose to get done and out…in record time if possible. I met a guy today who had a bunch of bags with wrapped presents who commented that he was in and out of the mall in an hour. He seemed very pleased with his accomplishment (I was rather impressed as well – a guy’s dream, right?)
Stop! Let everyone else do that. Why don’t you just sit and watch, maybe with a coffee or water in hand? Let the human rivers flow by on each side and observe.
Or wander slowly in the slow lane (I like to clasp my hands behind my back) and join the flow, allow yourself to be carried along by the busyness, the intentness, the focus to find the perfect gift at the best price.
But here’s the thing: whether sitting or wandering, look into people’s faces, graciously move aside for them, ask about the presents their buying. Enjoy the importance they are giving to what they’re doing; because what they’re doing, at that moment (or hour) is the most important thing to them right now.
They have loved ones they want to, or have to, buy stuff for. They’re motivated, determined to get the perfect gift, and can’t go home until they do so. Get involved, be compassionate for the importance they are bringing to what they’re doing. Sure they want to get home with their treasure…and that’s how they hope the recipient will see it as well – as treasures that were searched for with thought, with anticipation of the wrapping paper getting shredded off, with joy in seeing faces light up and laughter bubbling forth.
The shoppers are in the mall with a purpose – and you can see it written all over their faces. Anticipate with them that the gift will be happily received when they gleefully “rush home with their treasures.”
Help Others Arrive Safely
Who wants to hear of or be directly involved with a tragedy at Christmas? I know it’s any time throughout the year actually, but Christmas is a heightened time of family and togetherness. Let’s not take that away from one another.
So…drive safe, drive courteous, let the other person in. If we watched out for one another while driving to and from the stores, while going for visits, and even when going home from work (remember those mall workers have families and want to get home, too), then we would all arrive safely.
Pay It Forward to Someone You Don’t Know
Wikipedia defines pay-it-forward as: “an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.”
Have you ever been involved with a pay-it-forward at a drive-through? When the person in front pays for the person behind them, regardless of the cost? Try it yourself the next time you’re in a drive-through. Don’t wait for it to happen, give the person behind you an unexpected Christmas present. You’ll feel good.
Our family was out for supper about a month before Christmas, and we noticed a senior citizen eating by himself. I don’t know why but I wanted to pay for his meal. I admired his boldness in going out to a restaurant to eat and not confining himself to his home alone. Then the debate in my head started: even if he didn’t know, would he be offended, would he proudly say, “I’m not a charity case,” and refuse the money? Would he feel even worse because he was by himself and we weren’t? I didn’t know.
Finally, I said screw it, stopped my self-debate, and gave the waitress the money with instructions to anonymously pay for his supper and the waitresses to then divide whatever was left.
Sometimes we just need to do the good deed and ignore our inner debates about whether we should do it or not.
BTW: Christmas = 365 Days
We always ask, why do we only treat each other like this at Christmas? Why can’t we be like this, care like this, get together like this all year round? I don’t know – you tell me why we can’t move from an annual event to an always event? Of course, sans 365 gifts. Although I want…
But really, why aren’t we more aware of the spirit of Christmas throughout the year? It’s like the holiday decorations and obligations smack us in the face around Thanksgiving and then go for a long nap with Father Time in the New Year.
I’m sure you would agree with me that seeing trees, tinsel, and colored lights would lose their appeal if left out ten more months of the year. But maybe, just maybe, we could leave a nutcracker, an elve, or even a jolly Saint Nick stuffy on the shelf to remind us what we only think during that “most wonderful time of the year.”