When I was a kid, I loved Christmas. It was about as fun as it could get. There were tons of presents under the tree, snow everywhere and 2 weeks without school. Mom would cook up holiday favorites and for a kid, what could be more fun that candy, cookies and gifts? Obviously the real meaning behind CHRIST-mas was lost on me as a kid, but as I have grown older, the holiday as taken a different focus. I still love the holiday but I celebrate it a little differently than most.
I have a Christmas tree…its plastic and most years I haven’t even bothered to bring it down from storage. For only two people in my house, its hours of work that nobody but myself and Mr Chick will admire, and since we quit family gift exchange, there isn’t anything under it anyway. Aw, dont feel sorry for me. I dont. Its a choice we all made as a family.
I do send thoughtful Xmas cards, and I spent a fair amount of time preparing them. I, for one, would rather receive no card at all, than one that has just a signature at the bottom. Oh, how thoughtful of you to spend a dollar on a card and postage to show me your first name at the bottom of a “happy holidays” card. Even tho social media like Facebook keeps most of my friends informed of what I do, I have a lot of people that I do care about but for reasons of distance, dont see often.Therefore the annual Xmas card is my way of communication. I create a letter, newsy but not braggy so there can be some conveyance of information of what I did this year. And this year I did the photo card thing so a couple of photos are included so everybody can see how many more grey hairs we have this year and what my dogs look like! I also try to include a personal statement at the end of every letter when I stuff the envelopes, whether it be ” nice to see you this summer” or ” congrats on your new house”, or ” loved seeing you at the golf course”. I actually read all the letters I get, and find myself going back to them before I finally recycle them at the new year.
But just because I dont have a gift exchange doesn’t mean I dont give something at Xmas. Despite being the most electronically “connected” people in all of history, we are still some of the most lonesome people on the planet. Spending 2 hours perusing facebook doesn’t count as a social interaction. It doesn’t really count for much to be honest with you. Granted, I love my time on facebook, but it doesn’t replace physical social interaction.
I see people all day every day when I am at work. Most really dont care about me. I am just a means to and end. Its really amazing if you analyze a transaction, that some people can pick up their rx and never look at an employee directly in the face. They fiddle with their phone, their purse, their kids, their grocery cart, the credit card box, and then their bag with the rx in it. Sometimes, EYE to EYE contact rattles people.
So what do I give?
I give a compliment. Sure, I give boxes of candy to some significant people in my life and make some cookies for certain occasions, but I try to have some kind of POSITIVE social interaction with as many people as I can during this time of year, in the form of a compliment. AND, anybody can do it. Its completely free of charge and even if you have not a penny in your pocket, you can give this one thing to everybody around, including the people who serves YOU and the people you serve. And when you give a compliment, something amazing happens: they stop what they are doing and look at your face. For just a moment their brain disengages from what it WAS doing and has to acknowledge the unexpected.
In most cases ( yea, I understand, not ALL) there is something nice you can say to somebody. ” I like your scarf, its pretty”. ” You look great in that suit”. When you say something nice to somebody it can be a game-changer that you dont even realize. People have said nice things to me that turned my day around…and its not likely they even knew it.
Giving somebody a compliment can change a mood, be encouraging and lift a spirit.
It might even change you!