Your Weekly Challenge: Christmas is a Little More than a Store

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more…”
~Dr. Seuss
Each of my most memorable holidays, had the same thing in common. The holiday spirit went beyond the four walls of our house and wrapped around the community or another family. When my brother and I were little, we saw the true joy of giving from my mother. Although we didn’t have a lot to give, my mother still found a way to share the holiday spirit.
I remember one particular year, a man in our small town had muscular  sclerosis. His illness had been progressing and he was now wheelchair bound. He didn’t have the ability to cut down his Northwoods Christmas tree, and his family was without the means to purchase one.
My mother found an additional tree, and we piled it atop our little old Toyota Carolla car (quite a funny sight as the tree was so large I dare say it was a cousin of a Redwood)! Fortunately he only lived a mile away and we dashed through the snow to deliver it.
The feeling we had as we carried this tree through their door was so  everwhelming — I knew that feeling was the “spirit of Christmas.” His family cried at the gesture and we all sang songs together and enjoyed cider around the beautiful tree.
Giving is an important part of all of my memorable holidays (and days in general). Whether the gift be small or large, connecting to the community outside of these four walls allows the spirit of the holidays to spread.
Mark Twain wrote, “To get the full value of joy you must have somebody to share it with.” While that is true on a daily basis, I believe it is especially true at this time of year.
The holidays haven’t always been the happiest time for our family.  My brother died suddenly just short of the holidays thirteen years ago. My mother and I had already finished our shopping and as we sadly stared at his wrapped presents, we went back to the one thing we do very well–giving. We carefully selected a friend of his to receive each thoughtful gift.
And while the holidays can be a sad time, or a stressful time, when we connect to something bigger than ourselves, we can find the true joy and meaning of “holiday spirit.” And that spirit is something you won’t find under the tree, and you won’t find in the shopping flyer of the Sunday paper.
Your Weekly Challenge:
Throughout the month,  find ways to spread the holiday spirit through kindness.
Operation Stocking Stuffer
I found a story in Family Circle about a mother whose Marine son was in Iraq. She began an effort of building Christmas stockings (with a goal of 1400) for troops that are overseas. Operation Stocking Stuffer by Julie Ann is a wonderful example of the holiday spirit.
In the article it included this simple link, if you are looking for an idea to reach out during the holidays. “If you don’t know any
soldiers overseas but still want to send someone a gift, try Treats for Troops. Soldiers register on the site and are matched up with gift giving civilians. You can select a soldier by branch of service, home state, gender or birthday. Or if you don’t have a preference, they’ll send your package to the soldier who’s been
waiting the longest.
Here are some gift-giving ideas from Julie Ann (most oft requested items) – beef jerky, corn nuts, protein bars, Frisbees, Nerf balls, Chapstick, disposable cameras, Olive green T-shirts and socks (because laundry is hard to do), baby wipes (for hygiene), hand and foot warmers. Julie Ann’s organization can be accessed at

“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving
the light of love to those who need it most.”~Ruth Carter Stapleton
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And as always, don’t forget to start your day with a heartfelt: “Something great is going to happen today… I can’t wait to see what it is!”

And when ending your day ask yourself: “What is one more thing I can do to make today matter?”

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