‘Tis the season for so much, isn’t it? Choir concerts, crowded parking lots, and school parties. Family gatherings, crackling fires, and flour-dusted kitchens. Yet, through all that busy, we feel the desire for something more. To create magic and share kindness, to make this season of dark nights alight with joy.
That desire for holiday magic can lead to amusing results. Take this hilarious mom in Florida who tried to spread Christmas cheer at a gas station by purchasing a ginger ale for the customer in line behind her. Feeling all warm and fuzzy about her good deed, she left the store to pick up her kids from school and found someone washing her windshield. Overcome with Christmas joy at the kindness of strangers, she embraced the man in a hug and gushed over his good deed. Only…well, I’ll let her explain the story’s surprise ending.
Suffice it to say, our good intentions to show kindness or appreciation don’t always work out. But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. Even though these days are so busy, taking a few moments each day or week to do a kind deed can shine light on those around us. And small kindnesses don’t have to cost us a lot or take much time to share either. Here are a few simple ways families can share sparks of magic this holiday season:
- Leave snacks and bottles of water on the porch for delivery drivers
- Have a holiday baking party with friends and share treats with your local librarians or firefighters
- Bring cards, art projects, and hard candies to share with nursing home residents
- Offer a gift-wrapping service for families at a local business
- Sing carols around the neighborhood
- Collect canned goods for those who are hungry
- Leave a quarter in a gumball machine with a small note that reads, “Happy Holidays”
- Share a morning snack or drink with your community school crossing guard
- Stash bags containing water, clean socks, snacks, and hand warmers to hand the homeless
- Stock a Little Free Library with holiday or fun winter books
- Send cards to soldiers or to hospitalized children
- Bring treats and toys to a local animal shelter
In addition, we can slow our frenzied shopping and turn that experience into opportunities for community support and compassion. For instance, we might choose to support local businesses where we can connect with the faces and stories of small business owners. Or we might source ethically produced goods, and talk with our children about those purchasing decisions, building their compassion for people in their hometowns and around the world. Purposeful buying feels good, builds relationships, and offers learning opportunities for adult and child gift-givers alike.
For all this intent on purposeful purchasing and thoughtful service, I can’t guarantee that I won’t frantically order something on Amazon at the last minute as well. Because like that Florida mom, we try, and we sometimes fall short. That’s a concept that’s near and dear to my vision for Paratus. This space is all about equipping us for being ready (not perfect) to be with others.
So as we strive to be with others through service this holiday season, know that good enough is more than enough. Let’s end this year by working towards better as we dream of ways to nourish ourselves and others in the year ahead. If you have a simple act of kindness that you think others in our Paratus community would enjoy trying, can you comment below? Together we can keep a spark of holiday magic glowing brightly.