The Season of Giving

In the spirit of Christmas, my joy project for December is giving. I’ve decided to use my extra time to bless others.

I’ll be sharing my time, talents, money and possessions. Some of the most joyful times in my life have come from helping others. I hold particularly fond memories from when I was tutoring a special needs child. And I enjoy feeling useful when helping others with their projects. I did this with family on my recent trip.

Here’s a touching Christmas video about the bond between humans and animals. It certainly opened my heart and tears too.

Most of us feel the pressure to give during the Christmas Holiday season. Here are some ideas for how to give in ways that are simpler, easier, and more meaningful.

I intend to spend less time and money on shopping. For years I’ve downsized my spending at Christmas. Part of this is to save money. Secondly, I don’t enjoy spending time and money on gifts for people who are already materially comfortable or even blessed with abundance. And most importantly, I want to reduce the material focus of the season. What began as a season to celebrate life, winter, and Jesus has been hijacked by commercialism. I personally have more than enough possessions, so I plan to find items to give away to friends, shelters and agencies. This will simplify my life, reduce my possessions,  and bless others.

I plan to spend more time connecting with friends. I enjoy singing and caroling as a way to share good feelings. Many times over the years, I’ve gone caroling with friends to bring music and joy to others. Sometimes we go door to door, other times we go to nursing homes. Caroling at nursing homes can be a heart opening experience, though admittedly a challenge to feel the painful isolation for many of the residents.

I happen to like decorating my house and tree. It brings back fond childhood memories and helps nurture my own inner child. I also make time to write and send holiday cards. I like the personal connection from writing and sending cards. It’s a time to reflect on friends and life. Sometimes I write a personal message and other times I create a holiday letter to update friends.

This post and list of things to do, may seem like work, maybe too much for many of you. I’m blessed with extra time these days while underemployed and working from home. So please don’t stress by trying to do too much. Maybe you could pick one fun way to share or give this season. Do something that is both joyful and meaningful for you. As a single person, I’ve had to create rituals that have meaning to me as a way to enjoy the season. Have some fun while blessing others.

May the love train visit you this holiday season.

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