An Anonymous Elf + Brighten It Up + Stay Out of Those Places
Good Morning from Warren Grove, Prince Edward Island
Tis the time of year to be thinking of others. It is the time of year of good intentions. It is the time of year to be grateful. The main reason is to celebrate the Reason for the Season.
Anytime of year can be a joy to try and brighten someone’s day, week, or life. Whether it is family or friends or strangers. It has such a boomerang effect. Do you feel sad? I have read that when you feel sad, do something to make someone glad. The boomerang effect kicks in and sadness reduces or disappears. I need to try it more often. And need to remember to keep doing it. Especially fun when done anonymously.
One of the blog readers shared a Christmas tradition she has done for twenty years. Before posting her message to me, I asked permission. She blessed me with a yes. For privacy reasons she requested I not share her name or the place where she does this. Let’s say it is somewhere in rural Canada, and it is.
“Most people want to hear or tell a good story. But they don’t realize they can and should be a good story. That requires intentional living.”
~ John C. Maxwell
Christmas Comes Early
I live in a small town in Canada and have for over 30 years now. I was born and raised in a large city as was my husband. We are both outdoors people. And soon after starting our family realized that we wanted to raise our kids in a rural environment. We chose a small village with a strong agricultural base.
When you live in a large city, tragedy is all around you on a daily basis. You listen to stories on the news or read the headlines and are saddened by what people are experiencing daily. You feel heartbroken. You may donate to a Go Fund Me or choose some other way to acknowledge the incident, but you remain disconnected. In a rural area, this changes dramatically. You hear the news and either know the family or know of the family and are compelled to offer hands-on help. This connection to the community got me thinking…I wonder how these people are doing 6 months or so down the road. Their story tends to fade into history and we assume that all has worked out for the best, often not hearing the full details of what they may have endured.
I keep these individuals in mind all year and around mid-November, I choose one person and make up a Christmas-themed personal basket for them. I collect items year-round that I think will go well in a basket. Usually, I include a special mug and tea, a small fleece blanket, some chocolates, a book and maybe a candle or Christmas decoration. Sometimes I throw in mitts and socks, whatever I come across in my travels. I try to tailor a couple of items to the individual.
Around the end of November I have a random person deliver it to their door with only a “Merry Christmas from an anonymous elf”:
Over the 20 year span of doing this only about 5 people have “sourced” me out. Their reaction to this small token is always overwhelming. All agreed that it was extremely heartwarming to think that a virtual stranger would go to such lengths to acknowledge their struggles. I truly think that the basket says to them “I see you, I feel what you’ve been through and you are not alone”. A kind of acknowledgment of their strength. The very best part though is that all 5 who found me asked if they could “steal” my tradition and do baskets of their own. Hence, they continue to pay it forward every year.
I absolutely will continue this for as long as I can for the sheer joy it brings to me. One elderly lady calls me every November 30th, the date she received her basket several years ago. She lets me know she has dug out the snuggly blanket and her special mug and that she’s thinking of me. Cute huh?
Who knew that such a small act could bring so much warmth to people’s hearts and so much joy to mine! Imagine this world if we all set out to perform one single random act of kindness each day....oh what a change we could bring!
Below is a copy of the verse that I include in the anonymous basket. It changes a little each year to suit the recipient.
This basket is a Christmas tradition of mine
I’ve been doing it for 20 odd years
It comes with only one stipulation
You have to promise to shed no tears
This random gift is to remind you that Christmas
Are a time of joy and peace and bliss
Whoever started all this Amazon ordering
And shopping from organized lists?
I think true gifts should always be surprises
Well thought out and straight from the heart
Presented to people who enhance others lives
And you _________ sure do your part
Life will always present us with struggles,
Obstacles we strive to overcome
I think you have surmounted many
So this is for you _________….just for fun.
I’m sure, as I do, you hear the bells ring
Long before anyone else is aware
So now is your time to take a moment
Relax and let down your hair
Know that you’re appreciated by many
As one of the lucky few
With the strength, determination and stamina
To see Christmas magic come true
So feet up kid, open me and enjoy
Go ahead let yourself indulge
We have all those dreary winter months
To worry about “After Christmas bulge!”
Never stop spreading your holiday magic
It’s appreciated far and wide
Open me now…I’m not to be kept till Christmas
And enjoy all the treasures inside!
An Anonymous Elf
I am pleased she allowed me to share her story with you today. I believe her hope is for others to pick up the tradition and add it to their annual giving intentions.
"The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention." ~ John Burroughs
Over twenty years ago, our kitchen staff started to put a dollar in a cup every time they had a soda pop from the company fridge. Come Christmas season Shirley and I match the total in their cups. Every year near a thousand dollars in raised. The staff decide who the money or purchased gifts go to and give anonymously. We love the tradition our staff started.
“Over time, even the tiniest meaningful actions add up, each one bringing you closer to a life that is truer to your dreams and free of regret.”
~ Jane McGonigal
I had mentioned last week my love for choral music this time of year. Another reader was so kind to send me information about a choir their two daughters enjoy being in. Intrigued and inspired by the vision and the mission of this organization, I share it below.
Stile Atico is a choir whose music while listening to has brought me much peace this week.
I hope you enjoy this superb expression of musical artistry, delivered by this ensemble of talented singers.
If you have the chance, take a peak at Katherine's posting this week. We thank the folks at RED magazine for sharing the story of Evelyn.
Also, take a mouthwatering look at Adrienne's recipe blog this week.