Christmas morning 2020, quietly sitting listening to the rainfall outside. The deck doors are open, and a nice unseasonably warm breeze is blowing through the room while I bite the limbs off of a gingerbread man and sip coffee.
My children are adults, so there is no need to be awake at this time, yet here I am scrolling through my FaceBook memories of past Christmas celebrations surrounded by family, friends, laughter, and love. Jeez, talk about a mixed bag of emotions coming to the surface.
Last year our house was full to the brim. We were full of Christmas spirit with two new little ones in the family experiencing all of their firsts. They had no clue what was going on, but it didn’t matter to all of us oohing and aahing over every move they made.
Our celebration today will look much different. My mind is not fully committed to the festivities today, but my heart is aching for some sense of normalcy, so I’m going to do my best, and that will be enough.
This year it’s a party of 6, not 16, so I will not need engineering skills to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table. Although I’ll be missing the others dearly, it allows me to embrace this crew with extra love. I hope they’re all ready for the hug fest that’s waiting for them over here.
Thanks to technology, we’ll be able to share in the little ones enjoying the excitement of Santa on repeat if we want, and we can FaceTime the others around the country to spread some cheer. As for those who we lost, we will be keeping their spirits alive sharing the many memories we had the privledge of making over the years.
My Christmas wish for the future is to just continue on with life. Continue to see the good and be good. Continue to have patience. Continue to be healthy. Continue to grow. Continue to heal. Continue to recognize the love around us. Continue to surprise a sometimes mean world with acts of kindness.
Continue to Enjoy the Ride!
First things first, I had to cash the check. I decided on one dollar bills for easier distribution. Just for the record, if I won the $500,000,000 there is a very good chance that I would at least ask to see it in ones…maybe roll around in it…naked….because that’s what the rich & famous do. Ok, back to reality.
Next task at hand was reading through all of the brilliant suggestions that poured in from my faithful followers. I must say these readers had some great suggestions. That’s a clear sign there are some good eggs in this world!
Kate over at coffeekatblog shared that if she won the big lottery she would put a wing on her favorite pet shelter. Well Kate, I only won 50 bucks but I hope you’ll be happy with my decision. I was at the pet store to purchase food for the king of the house when I noticed a table set up at the front of the store. I inquired and was informed they were selling little bundles that consisted of a can of food with a toy that would be donated to local pet shelters. BINGO! Thanks to Kate’s inspiration one dog & one cat at the shelter will have a Merry Christmas this year! $4.00 down $46.00 to go.
Next I took 5 one dollar bills, placed them into envelopes with a message and some smiles. DAF over at dearanonymousfriend and Benz over at benzeknees both suggested treating someone to a cup of coffee. This gave me the great idea to strategically place these envelopes at the Java Joe’s coffee cart in our building. Employees, patients and visitors stop by the cart during the day, many times for a much-needed break.
The other day when I stopped for a chai, the young girl at the cart told me about the “secret envelopes.” She took a picture of them with her phone and was clearly excited about the whole experience. She did share that one woman came down from visiting her mom in the hospital. Her mom was craving a “good” cup of coffee, but the daughter didn’t have any cash on her and the cart doesn’t take plastic. The woman used one of the “secret envelopes” and the young girl picked up the balance. Smiles all around on that note! $9.00 down $41.00 to go.
The idea of leaving a cheery note along with the cash came from Lynne over at Free Penny Press. So, in the spirit of surprises I took 6 more one dollar bills, placed them in envelopes with some smiles and taped them on the vending machines in the lobby. Sweets & Drinks on me. $15.00 down $35.00 to go. I also made 5 more random envelopes with happy messages and left them on the windshields of some battered looking cars in the parking lot. $20.00 down $30.00 to go.
My next idea came after noticing a frazzled young mother on my street. I remember those days all too well. This time of year the little ones are on a Christmas high that usually leave parents begging for 5 minutes of quiet time.
I took $10.00 to the Dollar Store and picked up Christmas coloring books & crayons and left them on the doorstep of homes with small children on my block. I included a note from Jingle, one of Santa’s elves, instructing them to color a picture and leave it for Santa. Hopefully that gave those parents at least 30 minutes of peace. $30.00 down $20.00 to go. My daughter was happy to play the part of Jingle for the delivery.
My husband and I stopped for lunch at a Panera. While we were there I noticed a young girl cleaning tables and organizing dishes. She was working hard to ensure that her area was spotless. Kathy over at fridaynight family suggested over tipping a server. Although this young girl was not a server, she was very friendly and hardworking. I left her an envelope on the table with $2.00 thanking her for efforts. $32.00 down $18.00 to go.
Next up was Dave over at Blog of Funny Names who suggested tipping someone who makes minimum wage. As I was loading my groceries into my car, a young man came over to get my cart. He and his co-workers were gathered in the parking lot heading to retrieve ALL the carts that were left far away from the store. Honestly, it takes 5 seconds to walk the cart back people. I gave them each $2.00 for their hard work out in the cold. $38.00 down $12.00 to go.
Another fine idea came from Julia over at Julia B Whitmore’s Blog Schrodinger’s Cat is Alive. Julia suggested spreading some kindness to those holiday opportunities that we see on the street every day. I see a young woman on my way to work holding a battered sign stating “Newly homeless and hungry.” I don’t know if she’s legit or not, but I’m not her judge. I gave her $5.00 and she gave me a heartfelt thank you. $43.00 down $7.00 to go. Julia also suggested a donation to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers. Oddly enough I hadn’t come across one until Friday. $2.00 in the bucket! $45.00 down $5.00 to go.
The last $5.00 was put into envelopes with a simple message “Random Act of Kindness Pass It On.” I was trying to put these in just the right places. Hence the delay in finishing the mission. Then I thought there really isn’t a right or wrong place, so I went with my gut. One was left in a ‘Thank you” card at the Hallmark store. One was left on the counter at the post office. That decision was made after standing in line for over 45 minutes with a crew of Bah Humbugers. Next up an envelope strategically left in a magazine at the check-out, one inside a news paper and the last one amongst the toys at the Dollar Store.
Mission over accomplished with 32 Random acts completed! Heart refilled with joy and ready to Enjoy the Ride!