By Suzanne Reisler Litwin
This time of the year is nuts for me. It is the end of the school term. All my students’ projects need to be graded, their marks need to be calculated and submitted. I need to re-evaluate the course and improve it for next time. I have gifts to give, calls to make, wishes to send all for the holiday season. I must not forget anyone, anywhere!
I am embarrassed to say that at this time I haven’t exercised in weeks! Which answers the question, why do I feel like crap? I am close to a month behind in my journal writing. Oh, the thoughts I have wanted to put down on paper and didn’t have the time to. When I get around to filling in those days, I am certain to have forgotten what I initially wanted to say.
I am busy! I am really busy. Perhaps a little too busy. All this will come to an end once the holidays begin. Then I will catch up on everything, re-charge, exercise, and start anew in the New Year.
It’s great to be busy. I guess I just keep piling new and interesting things to do on my desk. I rarely say no to the next opportunity. I am always building something. I am a very busy little bee.
And…if you haven’t noticed, this is all about me. Instead of me… This is where it has to stop and change. As…
‘Tis the season to be useful, helpful, kinder, and give to others.
Not just this season, but now and onward. To be… useful, helpful, kinder, and give to others.
As glorious and beautiful Christmas, Hanukah or New Years can be, it is also a very lonely time for others. Although the stores are filled with glittered gifts to purchase, piped in with holiday songs and Ho Ho Ho is in the air, it certainly doesn’t mean everyone is happy.
I find the hype of the holiday season is fun for some and so disheartening for others. For some, it can be so darn lonely and quiet within all the holiday glamour and song.
I’m not trying to be the Holiday Debbie Downer, I’m being realistic.
Now is the time to get off your ass and do something for someone else. The truth is, if you lift someone’s spirit, you will lift your own. GO DO IT! MAKE IT HAPPEN! Be that person who makes someone else feel wonderful, happy, amazing and uplifted. BE THAT POSITIVITY, THAT LOVE, THAT KINDNESS!
There are so many ways to do this which won’t cost a thing. Here are some (costless) suggestions:
- Give compliments to people who are working to serve you.
- Collect food from your home which you are not eating and bring it to a food collection box
- Collect clothing that you are not wearing and bring it to a place which collects and distributes such items
- Any toys that are not being used can be given to children in need. Collect these items and bring them to a collection box.
- SMILE! Just simple smiling helps
- Volunteer your time. There are plenty of places to do this such as food banks, hospitals, elder care facilities, the Salvation Army, youth centers, etc.
- Call your neighbours, your distant relatives, your friends, your family just to say, I love you! “ I just called to say I love you” – Stevie Wonder
- Send an email or letter to reach out with kindness – a stamp will cost here
- Thank and praise people with a real kind smile and mention your appreciation.
- Say Happy Holidays to everyone you meet, add a smile to this too!
Here are some wonderful outreach ideas which will little cost:
- Give a chocolate or a candy cane treat to people who help you.
- Give a dollar or two as a tip for services you have received
- Make a soup or cake or cookies and give these to people who need some good o’l home cooking. There is nothing like home cooking! Soup is so good this time of year
- Create something like a knitted hat or scarf, decorations, a picture or scrapbook and give it away. Create even a song, music, video, and give it.
- Send holiday cards via email or mail is always appreciated
- Donate to a worthy cause
I hope this will inspire you to reach out beyond yourself and your own needs. As we tend to be over consumed with our own lives and needs, we quickly forget what is needed around us. We forget the people who make the least amount of noise. The glitter and holiday glamour drowns the truth of what is really important. There is always something you can give and/or do for others now and especially after the holidays. ‘Tis the season to be useful, helpful, kinder, and give to others. Come on, crack into the holiday spirit.
“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. She is a writing instructor at The Cummings Centre. She writes a weekly column in The Suburban Newspaper and at the West Island Blog. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban Newspaper, West Island Blog, Wise Women Canada, The Metropolitain, and Women on the Fence. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. Visit suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.