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coming up...
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The 31 Days of Christmas (12/01/20)

"For it is in giving that we receive." — Saint Francis of Assisi

Today, as I write this, December 1, begins a tradition my friends and I started almost a decade ago. It began out of our disdain for the traditional gift exchange, gift bragging, and gift gossip that had so permeated so many of our lives for years.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the negative, but we had gotten tired of the ‘competition’ on how much somebody ‘should’ spend on gifts, then the nasty comments if we didn’t get the other person as good a gift as they had gotten us or had expected. Or in the office environment, on the day after returning from Christmas time off, hearing how much a person got, from who, and what horrid gift they had gotten from a certain person (the gift gossip).

Worse, the asinine, makes me foam at the mouth question, “What did you get for Christmas?” Well, I woke up, was healthy, had a place to live, plenty to eat, was surrounded by friends—what more could I ask for. And getting the upturned nose smile and the “I meant what did you get from Santa.” I guess they didn’t hear me the first time, I woke up, was healthy, had a place to live, plenty to eat, was surrounded by friends—what more could I ask for.

So among our close group of friends, we decided we were going to do two things:

  1. During the year, if we saw something that another person liked, we got it for them, right then and there. It could still be a surprise later in the day, but it was not put in the closet waiting for Christmas.
  2. We would start a 31 days of giving during the month of December.

Understand, we have always been a group that gives to others, all year round, simply because of our belief that that is what we should do. But we decided since we could not change how the rest of the world understood and participated in Christmas, we just had to adjust our behavior in hopes of making others’ December just a little more special.

The rules were simple:

  1. Each day during the month of December, each of us gave something to another person, not in our group, to make them smile or cry (good tears).
  2. Twice a week we would ‘gather’ our funds from everybody in the group and give as a group to an organization, or a family.
  3. We wouldn't brag about everything that we did and definitely never brag about how much we gave. Though occasionally we have those special moments we had to share!!

The gift could be anything that would 'enhance' the life of another, even if just for a few minutes.

The ‘competition’ really became what was something new we had not done the year before to help others out.

The first year there were 6 of us in the group, which gave us quite a bit of giving power. This year, 2020, there are 10 of us in the group, which really gives us a vast opportunity to assist others, especially on our ‘group’ days. In this Covid year, there are a lot of people who need assistance! Or, just need something to bring good cheer and a smile to their face.

As our 31 days finishes up and we roll into 2021, I’ll post a couple of the highlights of this season’s giving. I personally feel awesome that I have made two people cry so far. :-) I really do miss the hugs of thanks we used to get. Maybe in 2021 that part can return.

- - - - update on 12/25/20

I would like to share just one really special moment we had the first week of this month, simply because of the reaction we got!

Every day of the year we see our local buses on their routes, non-stop, and still going during this Covid pandemic. To the people who ride the buses, these are essential services, making the drivers essentials workers. Yet, they are paid slightly over minimum wage. They barely makes a living wage.

So early one morning, 5 of us walked out to our closest bus stop and waited for the next bus. We hopped on board, paid, all of us in face coverings, and took socially distanced seats. At that particular time there was nobody else on the bus and the driver was extremely friendly and courteous.

When she asked us where we were headed, we said we were just out for a ride. We could see her raised eyebrow in the mirror looking back at us, and inquisitively asked "now who would do that?"

We told her we just needed to go a couple miles and didn't want to walk, and rang the buzzer for the next stop—we were about a mile or so from home. She pulled over and opened the door.

As the 5 of us got up, we put on our red and white Santa hats. She noticed in her mirror as we walked forward, and we knew she knew something was up. As each of us exited the bus, we handed her a $100 bill and wished her a Merry Christmas!

When she got the first bill she was in disbelief. But as the rest of us walked out and the 5 of us were standing on the curb, all in our festive Santa hats and big smiles on our faces, our bus driver was dancing in her seat, tears flowing from her face. "Oh my God, oh my God, thank you Lord. Thank you guys! Oh may God. Guys you don't know what this means. Oh my God." Tears continued to stream down her face as she bounced in her seat screaming out thank yous!

"Oh how I wish I could hug each of you!" Well, we knew better than that. Then one of the guys started belting out "We Wish You a Merry Christmas!" Yes, that was quite appropriate, so we all started singing.

She was laughing, crying, singing along, and realized she did have a schedule to keep, said she had to go, tears still streaming, and after another whole-hearted thank you, and off she drove.

I have to say, the feeling from that encounter lasted for a long time, and still brings joy to the heart!

And now, to this day, every time we are walking out on her route, we get a whole-hearted honking of the horn as she passes, waving excitedly!


#giving #holidays #truegiving