How Great Thou Part

The holidays promote the urge to give in all of us.

It is truly a beautiful thing.

The problem?

Like the rest of the well-intentioned harried holiday humans, I could use prompts to do more of said giving.


Things just get busier once the calendar advances to December one.

This makes me recall a conversation I had with one of my boys last year.

On our way to visit relatives we encountered traffic and were rerouted. By the time we got to the tollbooth I questioned my son asking why it was taking so long to pay? We were, after all, losing time and he could hear the obvious frustration in my voice. On my list of top three stress inducers? Keeping people waiting.

My son turned to me and said, “You told us to think about little things we could do for people over the holidays remember? Like paying a toll for the car behind us.

And there I was speechless.

It actually prompted me to write a column about the lesson my son taught me that day.

It does reinforce; however, as individuals and parents we can set out to have the best intentions to help and give and yet still become too rushed to remember.

Tis the Season.

Personally, I am a lover of lists.

Nothing like checking it twice and then crossing it off. It works for Santa.

It just never seems to work for me.

I get to a few of my giving, helping and time-sharing intentions and that’s about it.

I decided this year I needed a different type of reminder. One to keep me perpetually conscious. Because, after all,  I am in fact not Santa and minus his magic I could use a little help.

I knew it had to be a positive reminder and its placement in my daily life would be critical. I couldn’t see it in the morning and then remember it when I came home at night. It needed to travel with me during the day. It also needed to work for me as an individual and as a parent.

I wanted something my children and I could continue to do together throughout the years.

And then it hit me!


A happy holiday reminder that also travels well. 

This year will start the tradition. 

A constant reminder to look for ways to give, help, share or spend time.

5 Simple Steps to Giving More This Holiday Season:

1. Purchase mini-candy canes.

2. Decide as an individual/family how many candy canes each individual will be responsible for.

3. Place them in the family car(s) as the primary location. Others can find their ways to purses, pockets (watch that wash), dorm rooms, work, etc.

4. Brainstorm simple generosity of spirit ideas, i.e., helping an elderly person to their car with groceries, opening a store or car door for someone struggling with small children, giving an extra dollar or two to charity when checking out of a store, paying a toll for the car behind you, leaving a candy bar for someone at work, making a long overdue visit with a friend or family member, paying for a stranger’s meal at the table next to you or a cup of coffee, give up a parking space to another car (I know this might be the hardest of all), pay for an extra item at a store for the next person who comes in to purchase it, put a few extra dollars in the collection basket, if someone is struggling with packages and hunting through their purse for money offer to pay for their coffee (scratch that – just pay for it) and more.

5. Each time you demonstrate some type of generosity of spirit hang that candy cane on your Christmas tree or place it in a bowl. Buy some individual notebooks to write down these moments and share at a later date as a family or simply pick a time each day to discuss how being conscious led to more simple opportunities to be generous.

It’s hard to be present in life. 

We all need prompts.

At our core, we all want to give.

It’s a beautiful thing.

As I write this column today I search for just the right picture to accompany it.

The irony is not lost as I realize two candy canes represent one heart.

Enough said. 

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(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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