It’s here. The busy holiday season has officially kicked off. Before we get too deep into it, I wanted to take a break from our regularly scheduled egg nog, turkey, family movies, Christmas carols, candy canes, snowman, hot cocoa and all of the other wonderful things about this time of the year, to encourage all of us to be aware, to show empathy, and to be kind to the people around us.
I know that we’re all, “Season’s greetings!”, and “It’s better to give than to receive!” right now. Just because we say it, doesn’t mean we always remember to demonstrate it, though. At times, it can feel like those words are coming out of our mouths, but bypassing our brain and heart altogether. We feel good about wishing someone a Merry Christmas, but sometimes, what we really mean is, “Have a Merry Christmas…as long as that doesn’t involve me having to do something for you”, or “Have a Merry Christmas…as long as I’m in a good mood”, or my favorite, “Have a Merry Christmas…as long as it doesn’t inconvenience me.” These empty greetings, seasonal in nature and with a short life span, don’t really serve to impact real change throughout the rest of the year.
That doesn’t have to be the case, though. This holiday season, let’s try going out of our way to be aware of the needs of others. We can think of it as a trial run for the rest of our lives. Instead of only considering our own needs, we’ll look around and see if there’s a way that we can improve the quality of life, right now, for some of the other folks who share this universe with us. We can all do this, even those of us who have special needs or considerations of our own that we need others to consider.
How Can I Be Good to Others?
Need an example of what that might look like? Well, for example, it shows incredibly good will to man to be understanding of the baby crying at the performance of The Nutcracker that you happen to be attending. That’s what baby’s do, right? And that Papa is doing the best he can to manage a cranky baby that’s irritated by the dark, and the loud music. They have the right to share that space with you.
At the same time, Mama, consider the fact that there might be some families there who have sacrificed and saved for months for the extra special treat of attending The Nutcracker. Cranky baby? We totally understand, but take him out sooner rather than later so the rest of the families can enjoy the show.
When you’re waiting in long lines to check out at the store, to mail a package, or buy stamps, don’t complain to the folks around you. It’s the holidays. The lines are going to be long. If you can’t spread Christmas cheer, keep your grinchiness to yourself. Everyone is inconvenienced, not just you. And it’s just a line. What a blessing to have legs to stand on.
The same goes for packing clothes ahead of time and getting to the airport early so that you can get seats together with your family from the beginning instead of relying on the kindness of the person who might have set an alarm in order to check in early just so that they could get that window seat. Don’t make folks have to prove how nice they are because you failed to get an early start.
This is just a tiny sampling of the enormous opportunities we have every day to be good to other folks. Whether you have a lot of kids, an important job, are rich, or are poor, if we choose to open our eyes to the needs of others, even on the seemingly minor things, we’ll have Happy Every Day, not just during the Christmas season.