As we pulled out of the drive-through with my coffee Brenna asked “Mom, why is that cup decorated for Christmas? It’s still fall, we haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet!” When you’re four and just getting the handle on the seasons, holidays and the whole sequence of time I imagine it’s frustrating and confusing for the world around you to be blending them all together. It’s also frustrating as a parent trying to teach your child patience, and the wonders of anticipation. I explained to her that people spend money on gifts at Christmas time, and they also eat out a lot since they’re busy buying all those gifts. Restaurants and stores are greedy so they try to trick us into thinking it’s Christmas time even earlier so they can get even more money. She might as well know the cold hard truth; constant vigilance my dear lest you be duped by the world.
Not only are the stores and restaurants teeming with Christmas, people have already decked the halls in their own homes. It seems overlooking Thanksgiving and throwing up a tree is more a southern phenomena but I have no theory as to why. The beauty of Christmas decorations is that they’re special, for a short time your home is a wonderland of garland, snow and twinkling lights. If I had worn my wedding dress for two months before the ceremony I’m sure it wouldn’t have held the same feelings of awe, excitement and significance for me and my husband. The novelty wears off.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not just about the wreaths and trees. It’s deeper than that. We all want the feelings of Christmas. The warmth, the love, the togetherness, the hope that all those trappings mean for us because none of us get enough of it every day. I have a solution and it’s as simple as this : you get what you give. Selfish is something we’re all good at so let’s start there. Whenever I do even the smallest act of kindness not only does the person on the receiving end get that warm fuzzy feeling, so do I. Let’s all try to be kind to each other, start being more aware of the people around us, make this thing a human walk rather than a rat race. Let someone out in traffic, smile, wave. Put the cell phone down, make eye contact with the cashier and smile-a real one, all the way to your eyes. Bring a cup of coffee to the Salvation army bell-ringer standing in the cold. See a homeless man at the red light, take the time to grab him a bottle of water and a bite to eat and lap back around. Help the lady with all the kids that just spilled something at the table beside you. It’s tiny little things like this that spread the love; I warn you though it’s addicting.
Let’s not just decorate our homes for Christmas. Let’s decorate the world. Let’s adorn it with the warm glow of genuine smiles, the twinkle in eyes from surprising kind deeds and the music of shared laughter and heartfelt thanks. These are decorations we can keep up all year.