Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Christmas Gnome: The Giving Spirit

I have a friend. A very wonderful friend, with an awesome family, who has been having it very tough for a while now. She is working very hard at her studies while doing everything she can to care for her family, trying and getting by on very little. A conversation with her a few days ago made my heart hurt for her, so I spoke to another friend about putting together a Christmas gift basket for her and the kids.

By the time I checked back that evening, she had told another friend about it, and suddenly the endeavor bloomed into something enormous and gob smacking in its generosity. Over the last few days, the call went out, and people started giving items to send on to her. Today, while the kids were at school, we delivered them.

We brought her a wide variety of long life pantry foods, all the staples that would help her stock up for the future. There were lots of fresh meat and frozen vegetables (even ice cream!) for her freezer so it would no longer be mostly empty. There were bulk vegetables and fruit, household goods such as pots, pans, utensils, hot pads and oven mitts and storage containers. We brought her items for her kitchen, laundry room and bathroom, right down to the dish liquid and soaps and towels. We provided a 20kg bag of cat food for her felines. There were hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards for the entire family.

And most of all, we brought them Christmas. Toys and stocking stuffers for the kids, all sorts of holiday treats, wrapped and ready to place under the tree. The look on her face was everything I could have dreamed and more, and my heart was made so very happy.

Today, though, she opened my eyes. Upon our arrival to deliver our gifts, my friend, who had been through so much and had so little, who had been having an especially hard morning that day, handed me a small bundle wrapped in white tissue paper. A Christmas present, a white garden gnome in sunglasses and a mankini, who I have affectionately dubbed "Jake". Even in the midst of all that was happening in her life, her own kindness and generosity prevailed over the bad, and I am honored that she thought of me in that moment. I will forever treasure her hilarious, quirky gift, and I am plotting all sorts of photo shoots for Jake already!

All names have been kept anonymous, for privacy purposes, so please don't name names if you were part of this, but thank you, thank you, thank you all for what you have done this week. You have made a very deserving family so very happy.

I want everyone to have a great holiday season. Be kind, be generous, love each other, and try to accept that we aren't perfect (it would be very boring if we were!) Most of all, don't stop being any of those things, even after Christmas has passed, even after the new year has begun. Spread it around. Let everyone know.

Go with peace and happiness in your hearts. Live. Learn. Love.

Merry Christmas.

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