Give a Little

I honestly believe in the magic of Christmas.

I know how sappy that sounds, and as the years roll by there’s part of me that thinks I ought to let it go and just treat it as commercialised nonsense.

But year after year, there’s something about this Holiday that I connect with in ways I find completely bloody amazing.

It’s the spirit of the thing

I don’t care what religion you align with, it’s not about that.  It’s the spirit of the season that I’m asking you to embrace…

  1. Give 1 person 1 thing.  It could be someone you’ve already bought a gift for, a new friend, a loved one, an acquaintance or a stranger.
  2. Don’t go the easy route and buy something in a store.  Here are some thoughts on what you can give, but don’t limit yourself to just these:
    • Gift of time.  Time is the one thing they’re not making any more of, so give away some of yours to show you care.
    • Gift of consideration.  This time of year isn’t about you and your stuff, so empathise, sympathise and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
    • Gift of spirit.  Buy a coffee for the person behind you in the coffee shop.  Ask the receptionist at your office about their Holiday plans.  Wish your bus driver or train conductor a Merry Christmas.  Go out of your way to bring a smile to someone else.
    • Gift of charity.  Rather than buying more stuff, give to a cause that matters to you.
    • Gift of forgiveness.  Honestly, gracefully and deeply forgive someone if you’ve been holding a grudge or pointing the finger of blame.  Don’t just pretend to forgive; forgiveness requires deliberate action.  Oh, and the person you forgive can be yourself.
  3. Lastly, share this.  It will be fan-bloody-tastic if just 10 people give 1 person 1 thing as a result of reading this.  But what if 1,000 people gave something?  What if a million people gave something?

What might happen if everyone gave a little?

Let me know what gift you give in the comments.

  • Just getting around to reading this now (resolution #3: clean up email inbox)

    I love this post. I’m sorry Nicholas felt the need to pee all over your Christmas spirit. I imagine he didn’t come close to even slightly ruining it for you, though, which is why you’re you.

    This year I filled 2 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. It ended up being rather more expensive than I’d planned, but what great fun putting together a jumble of cool stuff at the dollar store that you know will end up being loved and appreciated by a child in a third-world country.

    It felt good, even if that makes me naive or just a fool.

  • Let’s delve a little deeper into the ‘spirit of the thing.’ Consumerism has driven the whole holiday season into an excuse to be gluttonous, lazy, and greedy. None of the action items you’re describing are going to put a dent in the dozens of packages that people feel obligated to send this time of year.

    By acting, you run the risk of your time, consideration, spirit, charity or forgiveness being misinterpreted or simply abused. Instead of trying to balance the scales with one person against the hordes of family, friends, and acquaintances that are clamoring for more useless stuff, why not simply abstain from the whole thing.

    That’s right, skip it. Keep your warm and fuzzies in your pocket, your money in your wallet, and find a way to make it clear that you aren’t going to make decisions based on guilt or an arbitrary date on the calendar.

    • Completely agree that consumerism has run amok with the season. Completely agree that it’s crazy making decisions out of guilt or an arbitrary date. You and I can get t-shirts made with that on the front and back.

      But I have to disagree about your idea of one man against the hordes. I don’t care if an act of time, consideration, spirit, charity or forgiveness is misinterpreted or abused (although it makes sense not to give cash to a drug addict, for example). The point, I think, is to give without expectation of reciprocation. That includes gratitude or even being interpreted in the way you intended.

      The chance that an act of generosity can be accepted is some kind of frickin’ miracle as far as I’m concerned, regardless of whether it only “lands” one time out of a hundred.

      There are times I’m sorely tempted to keep my warm and fuzzies in my pocket, honest to God Nicholas. But honestly, I don’t like how that feels. So I prefer the alternative, even if it makes me naive or just a fool.

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