A season of giving        

Nov. 25, 2022
by Ivan Raconteur

It seems that the Christmas season gets earlier every year. Some people start before the Halloween candy is gone.

I remember when I was young. The Christmas season started much later, but it was a magical time growing up in “the Christmas City of the North.”

My siblings and I spent hours poring over Christmas catalogs and marking things we would like as a sort-of graphic wish list to help Santa know what to bring us. We didn’t dare leave anything so important to chance. We certainly did not receive everything on our wish lists, but we went through the process every year just in case.

Despite this focus on what we wanted, we got more enjoyment from thinking of the perfect gift for people on our list. When we were very young, this mostly involved things we had made. Later, when we were a bit older and had our own money, it involved small purchases. We even enjoyed the process of wrapping the gifts and took pride in concealing the surprises within.

With each passing year, I have become less interested in receiving gifts but instead like to focus on other people.

The true joy of the season comes from seeing smiles on other people’s faces, especially people in need.

I have reached the point where I don’t care if I receive any gifts at all.

If I were to make a wish list, it wouldn’t involve marking items in a catalog or tagging things on a website. The things I would wish for aren’t available in a store.

I’d wish for peace on earth. That’s an old one, but we haven’t made it yet.

I’d wish that we would all treat one another with kindness. That may seem unattainable, but it’s not such a big ask. There is a popular book that has been telling us to do this for a very long time. Kindness costs nothing, and yet it is one of the most powerful things we can give each other.

I’d wish for an end to the violence. What kind of creatures are we when we injure or kill our brothers and sisters?

I’d wish for a world where no one had to go through life feeling lonely and unwanted. Each of us has value.

I’d wish for a world ruled by empathy, not greed—a world where we lift each other up instead of holding each other down.

My Christmas wish list has changed over the years, but the season can bring more satisfaction than ever before. If we live in a spirit of reaching out to lend a helping hand instead of reaching out to receive gifts from others, we can experience a warmth that will endure, no matter what the weather.

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