Christmas tradition has long-held that on this special day we exchange gifts with those we love most, love a little, care deeply about or through marriage or sheer misfortune find ourselves related to.
It is by far the busiest time of the year for retail sales and it is not uncommon to hear of businesses doing 30 to 50% of their entire year’s sales in the five or six weeks leading up to Christmas day.
It is also a time of year when we just appear to be nicer and more tolerant of each other and many of us seem to reserve those facial muscles required to form a smile and put them to use only during these few short weeks.
The commonly heard refrain, “have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?” reminds us that this time the year has, for many, been made memorable by the size of the gifts rather than the magnitude of the occasion.
So, let’s talk about gifts.
There is one gift I would like to propose that, if received by each of us, would change our lives not just during these few weeks, but for each of the 365 days of every year.
The gift I am asking each of you to select for your own is the priceless one known as Random Acts of Kindness.
If you choose to give this gift to yourself it means you are promising to deliver to yourself the incomparable magnificent feelings of pure goodness every day when you actively seek opportunities to provide Random Acts of Kindness to family members, neighbours, friends, strangers and, whenever the opportunity presents itself, those most in need.
Random Acts of Kindness can be as simple as paying for the coffee of the person standing in line behind you at Starbucks or holding the door open for someone (this is also known by its other name – politeness) or taking the time to stop and say hello to a stranger on the street who may well have spent his or her entire day without as much as a smile.
The gift of giving Random Acts of Kindness has no price tag attached to it and while we may not receive it wrapped in pretty paper, once we open and adopt it, it will become the greatest source of nourishment for our souls.
It is not possible to provide an act of kindness to a stranger without feeling and enjoying, with full intensity, the good feelings that magically arrive each time we do so.
A friend of mine was recently telling me he had stopped at a restaurant briefly for lunch while between meetings. As he was finishing his meal he overheard the conversation between a mother and her young daughter at the next table.
The child has asked her mom for a particular item on the menu and her mother explained she could not order that dish as she did not have enough money to pay for it. She directed her daughter to make her selection from the lower priced items available.
My friend told me he finished his meal and as he was paying his bill, asked the manager to make sure the young girl got the dish she had originally asked her mom for and he paid for their meal.
He left without saying a word to them.
He told me the bill for their meal was less than $25 and his next appointment was for a massage which was going to cost him $100.
A while later, as he was driving back to his office, it dawned on him that while he always felt good after a massage, his quiet, anonymous Random Act of Kindness did far more than that; it caused his spirit to soar.
Random Acts of Kindness help us grow in ways that are unimaginable while at the same time making the world a better place for each recipient.
Oh, by the way there is another reason why you should treat yourself to the gift of Random Acts of Kindness.
As you have probably heard, each year Santa compiles two lists: the list of the names those who have been naughty and the list of names of those who have been nice.
Performing daily acts of kindness is a sure way of having your name added to the nice list.
And only good things can come of that.
Till we read again.
Finally, after months in the works, my company’s new website is up. Please take a moment and visit www.strategicpathways.net . Browse through this site and then click on the “Contact Us” tab or firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think.
Your opinion truly means a lot to me.