Its been a strange holiday so far, let me explain. On the one hand, I couldn’t be happier to once again be living close to my father, brother and sisters and their families. I even feel closer to my in-laws in Atlanta. I’m surrounded by extended family too, and lots of young nieces and nephews. While I dearly miss my friends back in New York, it brings me great joy and comfort living here in D.C. On the other hand, the tragedy in Newtown, CT is a sobering reality. And while this is a festive time, some people I am very close to are experiencing pain and loss this season.
Its in these times, where a blessing has more to teach us, than to provide. And, of course, that’s what the holidays should be about. To me they are a time to put aside your wants and desires and to celebrate each other, our common bonds and to make a promise to one another that we will love and hold Christmas in our hearts the year round.
So, a gentle reminder, to myself and to all deadbaiters. Give back. Don’t wait and don’t feel guilty if you didn’t do any giving this past year. Just give back. Find a way to help your common brother and sister, the Earth that holds you, and the all mighty universe, God or being that created you. Hell, maybe you’re just happy the Mayans were wrong.
Here are some ideas:
- Take a child to a free museum. Today, almost every urban museum has free days, and if you live in DC, nearly every museum is free at some point in the week.
- Give away your favorite book. Share a story that’s meaningful to you, maybe they’ll find it meaningful too.
- Make a care package. For those struggling through tough times, a homemade lasagna, handmade baked cookies or a carefully selected basket of local goodies can turn around someone’s day.
- Write a letter. No not an email, but a handwritten two or three page letter to a relative or friend you don’t spend enough time with. Share your life, reminisce, ask about their lives or tell a story.
- Donate unused winter clothing. Do you really need those boots or that coat you haven’t worn in two years, or that funny elf hat anymore? Its going to be a cold winter but you can keep someone warm.
- Gather your family’s resources to help another family. We all know have a family friend that’s fallen on tough times. Instead of just one person helping out, ask your entire family to pitch in and help. Maybe they need a big item that you all can take care of together?
- Give someone some time off. Remember giving you parent’s I.O.U.s promising to wash the dishes or take the trash out when you were a kid at Christmas? You can do the same thing for a friend of family member who might need a night off from the kids.
- Invite your neighbor around. If you know your neighbors might be alone this season, or if you just want to thank them for keeping their dog off your lawn this year, invite your neighbors around for tea or cocktails, open your heart and open your home.