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Holidays are great opportunities to be kind

By Staff | Nov 19, 2010

The holiday season is approaching and we think of family gathering and special foods, and fun.

Yet for some people, the holidays are a time to endure. They may be without family and must face the holidays alone. It is easy to have a pity party because they see other families getting together and sharing a meal while they sit alone having a bowl of soup. Why bother to make a big dinner just for one person?

Sometimes there are activities a person can get involved in. Opportunities abound at holiday time for volunteering time and talents to help others less fortunate. It helps with loneliness to serve others. Instead of being turned inward to one’s own troubles, thoughts are focused on helping someone else.

We need to recognize that not everyone has the Norman Rockwell family concept. People are struggling economically to make ends meet, and celebrating holidays costs money. People with chronic illnesses don’t have the energy to participate outside their homes.

This is where kindness comes in. A thoughtful neighbor stops by for a cup of coffee and a visit. Friends and neighbors take time out of their own preparations to cheer up a man or woman living alone. Baskets of fresh fruit and nuts or flowers bring joy to someone’s mundane life.

It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Ask a fellow church member to go with you for breakfast after church. Drop someone a card saying you are thinking of them and how special they are. Give a smile to someone who can’t muster one of their own. Run some errands for a neighbor who can’t get out. Tuck in a treat!

Thanksgiving and Christmas may encompass family fun, traditional family foods that we indulge in once a year, exchanges of gifts, decorating, baking, and the list goes on. But the spirit of the the holidays is spreading love to all we meet.

One tradition that has all but disappeared is people saying Merry Christmas as they pass each other on the sidewalk. Try it this year. It may feel awkward at first, but you will see people respond with smiles and a returned greeting. Just that simple step may brighten the holiday for someone.

Be pleasant in the check out lines of busy stores. Everyone is in a hurry at holiday time, but take those few minutes waiting in line to visit with another person who is also waiting and the time will pass more quickly than one realizes.

Notice that the kindnesses mentioned here, for the most part, don’t cost any money. Most of them cost very little time. Yet the end result is to brighten someone else’s day. With a simple gesture you have the power to change someone’s attitude for the day.

Think about what you can do for someone else and do it. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Kelly Barta is The Tribune’s editor.

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