Love, Joy, Kindness. Repeat.
Christmas is often called the season of giving. Giving of your time, giving of gifts, and sharing and supporting. This always makes me sad. Let me explain. It makes me sad because the emphasis is only on this time of the year when we dig deeper to show kindness, compassion, and love to our fellow people. It can feel like it’s another “should”, another obligation to check off the list in an already hectic time of the year.
There are causes that are near and dear to my heart. The first is Sick Kids in Toronto. Despite not having any conclusive answer to my son’s illness, this is a place that was home to us for weeks at a time over the last six years. While we were there we benefited from their support, which is not lost on me, that came from generous donations. This included the crafts that would be brought into the rooms, bringing a smile on otherwise gloomy days. Or the time we thought we were going in for a routine appointment, and ended up being admitted to the hospital with only the clothes on our backs. Did you know they have a supply of toothbrushes and toothpaste to help get you through that first night? Or a treasure chest of toys for the kids to choose from for being brave in emergency department? I didn’t know either, until we were recipients of that support. In turn, we support back. Having seen first hand what the foundation does for kids and families it’s an obvious choice. We donate monthly, we share and further their messages on social media, and we buy their lottery tickets. Just knowing that another child will have something to smile about warms my heart, and best of all, that glow is around all year.
Another area of focus, support, and sharing love comes from supporting local businesses. It’s easy to go into the big box stores or get the convenience of online shopping, but there is something so much more rewarding to support local shops, businesses, and entrepreneurs. In the last few years, I am even more aware of this as an important contribution to giving back. As part of growing my healing practice, I need to get out there. When also working full time on the side, it can be difficult to connect to others, so I joined an entrepreneur community on Facebook. In this community, I see beautiful examples of people helping one another be successful in their crafts. The group is quick to praise, recommend, and send business to one another. It’s a veritable “When you win I win.” Imagine that! I take that spirit to extend further in my network, to share the gifts of these entrepreneurs to help spread their message and offerings, and to support people in living their passion. Whether it’s liking a business page, tagging them in a recommendation, shopping in their shops, or buying their services, we all benefit. And it feels good to connect people you know to other great people you know. Even in the summertime, I can show the thoughtfulness and kindness of Christmas.
My third and probably favourite cause, per se, is performing random acts of kindness. It’s easy and doesn’t have to cost anything. Its simplicity is its brilliance. It’s rewarding to help a random stranger and feel the glow of the smile. And while the idea is to give without getting something back, I argue that I get filled up – I feel good knowing that someone else feels good. Now imagine if that person goes on to pay that forward! Amazing. This year our Elf on the Shelf challenged the kids to perform a random act of kindness every day until Christmas. Now my children are on board with the true spirit of Santa by giving without the expectation of anything in return. They too get to play Santa, and hopefully, with the practice they get this month it will become a part of who they are all year round.
My children say “I wish every day could be Christmas”, to which I answer back “Every day can be like Christmas”. Choose to spread love, joy, kindness, compassion, and support your fellow humans every day. Not just once a year. That is truly the gift that keeps on giving.