I originally wrote this a year or two ago, just before Christmas, but this September as we are coming out of our quarantines with fingers crossed that there won’t be another shut down, as school kids begin their new school year in their homes with parents who wonder how they will manage, as civil unrest continues to toss and turn, and a pre-election divides, I thought about these 5 simple ways to share joy in a world where joy isn’t always so obvious.
Oddly enough, the exhaustion and trepidation I feel this September is very similar to the feelings I can feel in early December. Instead of relief that we made it through a terrible the pandemic spring and summer mixed with hurricanes, murder hornets, swarms of ants that can be seen from space, and polarizing riots, I feel weary. I’m tired of the news.
The real news is we are alive. Alive to fight for whats right, alive to share our food with those whose plates are empty, alive to watch the trees change.
It’s a kind of Christmas and I am both grateful and joyful.
Don’t Grinch out. Don’t waste a moment saying to yourself that you don’t have the time or the where with all. At the end of the Christmas Carol Ebeneezer Scrooge promises to carry the Christmas spirit every day in his heart.
How do we find the joy in this season?
I promise these ways won’t take more time out of your cramped schedule. I promise that you will get more than the effort it takes.
Take a moment, look into your cashier’s eyes and with a smile say “Thank You”. Taking a just second to really wish happiness to a woe-be-gone over worked store employee is really cool. Just wait and watch for the smile back, even if their holiday is not Christmas, just the sincere wish will mean so much.
Leave a big tip and don’t make a big deal out of it. When you are finished with your rushed meal at I-Hop, the local diner, or whatever fast food spot, just leave a huge tip. These servers have been on their feet for hours(or out of work). What a gift it is to be able to express your gratitude with a little extra on the table.
Write a special note to one of your older relatives and mail it. Let me tell you a secret, getting older is lonely. As we age those weekly calls from the grandchildren mean sooo much. As we age, a quiet intentional conversation with our adult children is a time that we will relive for years. A written note will be prized and reread over and over. You don’t have to write a lot. I know you already are doing a mountain of cards, so just jot a note with a good memory of them let them that you are thinking of them. Let them know they aren’t forgotten or worse no longer matter.
Compliment your spouse often. For that matter compliment everyone all week. Studies show that we all have more positive experiences than negative, but that the negative live longer in our hearts. This week, text, email, Facebook nice things to people.
Stop off at a thrift store or a Goodwill shopping store and give the cashier some money for the next person(s) in line. I know some of us do something similar at Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts but rather than buy coffee for someone who can already afford it, how about something for someone who might be having a hard time making their miracle happen.