It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year is one of my favorite holiday songs because of the memories that flood back every time I hear it. From the time my daughter Caroline could stand, and every year since, we have danced to that song on Christmas Eve.  I love the holidays!
The holiday season is all about hope and happiness. It is not so much about the gifts and the trimmings as it is about the reason for the giving and being thankful for the opportunity to give, receive and affect in a positive way, the lives of the people around us. This time of year seems to bring the best out in everyone as we come together as a family and community, celebrate our shared traditions and lend a helping hand to neighbors in need.
It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year and It’s a Wonderful Life – a great song, a great movie and two great reminders that this is the season of good feelings, of giving and receiving, and of putting ourselves in the position to experience the wonderful and priceless gift of gratitude.
It’s not about how many decorations you put up or how many gifts you buy. It’s not materialistic – it’s an attitude. Christmas is about giving, sharing, and having compassion and empathy for others.
Discontent cannot survive in a grateful heart. This year I have a very big and grateful heart, and I am going to show it in everything I do.
Three weeks ago I pledged to perform 24 random acts of kindness before Christmas Day. As of today, I have volunteered to take care of a vacationing friend’s dog, left a generous tip for a pleasant waiter – twice, asked someone “How are you really doing?” – and then really listened to the response, encouraged someone who seemed despondent, picked up and threw away someone else’s trash, pushed my shopping cart back into the store, purchased toys for kids in need, dropped everything to give directions to an out of town visitor. taped quarters to vending machines around town and said good morning to a stranger.
That’s a total of ten accomplished. My remaining tasks are to . . .
Pay the drive-in order for the person in line behind me at Hardee’s
Write a letter to a child who could use some extra attention.
Grocery shop for the sole purpose of anonymously putting food on someone else’s table
Be a nicer person on Mondays and Tuesdays
Give a homeless person a care package and sit down and have a conversation with them
Sing carols or visit at a local nursing home
Put a coin in an expired parking meter
Ring the Salvation Army kettle bell
Call or write a teacher who changed my life
Leave a present in my mailbox for my mail carrier
Forgive someone a debt and never bring it up again
Write a note to the boss of someone who helped me, and explain how great a job that person is doing
Offer change when the person in front of me at the register comes up short
Treat a veteran to dinner
    I made the decision earlier in the year to have a wonderful holiday season, and each time I check one of these acts of kindness off my list, my Merry Christmas gets a little merrier.
     It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

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