As November draws to a close and December is upon us, Christmas and the holidays is on our minds and in our thoughts. I love the winter season, the cozy knits, the warm drinks and the laughter that fills our house from familiar faces. It’s a time to reflect on our year, reminisce about the memories we’ve shared and enjoy good food and drink with friends. But it is also about something much more...
I was at a coffee house the other day, picking up a tea before heading to work, when I witnessed a small, generous act of kindness right in the drive-thru. Among the impatient hustle of commuters during rush hour traffic, the barista advised me that the car in front of me had already picked up the tab for my drink. I smiled at her and said that I would do the same for the car behind me. “That’s great, paying it forward,” she said to me. I smiled back, “Happy Holidays!"
That pleasant interaction at the coffee shop really made me think about Christmas and what the holidays are truly about. For me and my family, this time of year is an opportunity for us to think about those families in need all around the world and in our own community. Giving back and helping families in need is something I try to teach our kids to do every day, but the holidays can be a particularly tough time for many people. Christmas is so much more than receiving gifts and time off school, and as a mother, I find it important to encourage my children to give back and spread kindness throughout our community. Giving your time can go a long way, whether it is volunteering at a soup kitchen, helping wrap presents or even assisting a neighbour with shoveling their driveway. Selfless acts of kindness are something we all need to do more often. It’s the little things that go a long way and will make somebody else’s day that much brighter. After all, spreading Christmas cheer is really what this season is all about.
This year, I decided to share with you a wonderful charity that the kids and I like to support around the holidays. It’s not only a great cause but something we enjoy doing together as a family. The Shoebox Project was founded by four sisters-in-law, and supports women who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, across Canada and the United States. As of 2015, volunteers have collected and distributed gifts, in the form of shoeboxes, to almost 25,000 women in 135 communities. The process is easy to do and a great way to actively involve your children. Simply decorate an empty, standard-size shoebox, fill your shoebox with items valued at approximately $50, write an inspirational message to include and drop off at a location near you. Check out www.shoeboxproject.com for more information about drop-off locations and deadlines, as well as items to include or leave out of your shoe box.
Let’s all try our best to remember the simple pleasures of the holidays and give back as much as we can, whether it is your time, your old winter jacket, or simply a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line. Remember, ‘tis the season to give the gift of giving – no matter how big or small.