It's exactly a week before Christmas!
I wasn't always a fan of Christmastime; I went through a phase when it was just 'another holiday celebration'. Of course, I am older and while the fantastical aspect of the season is long past me, I am rediscovering the magic that this celebration creates. At least for me.
For the next seven days then, I challenge you to join me in a journey of self-realization, thankfulness, and love. Here is a list of seven things I will do for the next seven days, perhaps to live during this once-a-year season the way we were meant to. Also, buy yourself something nice; it will come in handy on December 24.
Forgive, Forget: Food
There will always be that person (or even persons!) we've just really wanted to push towards in-coming traffic. Perhaps they have committed an offense that angered or insulted us, and it could be something petty or it could be something crazy big. The point is, identify that person and in the spirit of Christmas, forgive and forget by giving s/he a nice small item of food. I will personally get cupcakes. And of course, you don't have to explain what it's for ;)
We never notice the people that make our lives so much easier. The janitors at our workplaces, schools, and buildings; the guards that watch over us; the house help who prepare our clothes and food. Take this day and give them something thoughtful, like a Christmas card with a hand-written note in it, or something sweet to munch on during work. From experience, I have found that something so simple and plain like a card goes a LONG way to cementing relationships. My cards list this year was over 40 people!
Poor and Prejudiced
I'm personally not a fan of passive charity, such as giving money to beggars and street children. I've always believed that this is one of the reasons we cannot bring them out of poverty. Having said that, treats in life are rare but oft appreciated. Find that street kid you see all the time on your commute to work or school, and give him/her a nice slice of Christmas cake or sweet treat. Don't be stingy; that might possibly be a first-time (or at least very rare) experience, and you want the kid to enjoy his/her Christmas present from you :)
Friends Forever - Part 1
You know your acquaintances; the ones you 'know' but you don't really 'know'. Pick one from your hundreds and thousands of Facebook friends, send a private message (or chat, or tweet, or a text message - heck, even call) and just say "Merry Christmas!" Yes, s/he might be surprised, but I have never met a person who disliked a surprise Christmas greeting. Bonus challenge: Do this to ten (10) friends.
Friends Forever - Part 2
Every one has that special group of friends where one can just run to and talk anything. These are the people who would die for you, and they know you would do the same. They deserve at the very least a phone call (props for an actual Christmas card) from you wishing them "Merry Christmas!" These are friends for keeps, and forgetting to greet them spells you as a merry douchepacket. Massive hell-no for those ready-made-and-ready-to-send email Christmas greeting. You're cheap if you do that.
Not all of us are close to our family members; heck, I cannot say with a straight face that I'm very close with some of my relatives. However, this is one time in the year when we can greet them at least, and when possible, actually visit them even just to say hi. A card is the very minimum in this one. If they appreciate it, all's well and good. If they don't, that's not a problem on your side at all. Blood is something we cannot and will never be able to change.
I Love Me
It's Christmas eve! This is when we have dinner with our family, or join special people when family isn't available. Today though, I would like you to open a present you gave yourself (as per the instructions at the beginning of this post). Now thank yourself for being strong when you could have been weak, for being faithful when you could have lied, for being the best you could when no one would care anyway, and for giving your all even when you have pushed so hard already. For over three hundred days, you could have given up at any point and yet here you are. Celebrate life. Celebrate YOU.
I'm a big critic of labeling faiths. I don't really care if you call yourself a Catholic, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or a god (hopefully not a god though; you're not Tom Cruise). Whatever creed you follow, whichever prophet you listen to, take today and give thanks and acknowledge the greater power that must be out there. Especially for those times when you know you shouldn't have been able to, but you overcame. There are those times when things just go the way you want them to, and no credit to you. Yes, those days. Appreciate.
Merry Christmas! I wish you the best of luck in your next seven days!