Monday, December 19, 2011

Random Acts Of Christmas

Deb: This season of gifts has started early for us. Our front steps had lost their adhesive cement glue and had fallen forward leaving part of the steps without support. Things were busy and although it was on our list of “calls to make”, we had not yet gotten to it.  We came home after a particularly busy day to see our front steps re-plastered and held up with support wood wedges and bricks. Apparently, Otto, the lovely man who did the steps two years ago, had driven through the neighbourhood and seeing the crumbling steps, set out to fix them without charge. When I called him to thank him he said he was just standing by his work and ... Merry Christmas.

Last night I had to go to a party alone as Colin had a gig in Tennessee. I resolved to take a cab and had grossly underestimated the cost upon arrival. I decided that being at this party was worth the cost and let it go. When I was getting ready to leave, two of my dearest friends, Steven and Trish, insisted and I mean INSISTED that they drive me home. Now to really understand the generosity of this gesture you have to know two things. One, they live two blocks from the party, walking distance. And two, I live a forty-minute drive away. But insist they did, so we set off to their home first to see their tree. It is a STUNNING tree and brimming with their family tradition of each family member buying a different mercury glass ornament each year. I got to spend rare precious extra time with them hearing great stories from their lives that I don’t often get to hear. It was sweet on every level.

I received a call from my cousin Anne yesterday saying that she is cooking up a storm for my parents and dropping it down to them and having a visit. My dear friend Sandy called today to say she has frozen bags of homemade soup for Mom and Dad and is on her way to visit today. Sigh.

And finally, the kindness that each hurried, harried shopper shows my Dad as he shuffles along or blocks the aisle of the market or stands in the doorway by mistake. I have experienced nothing but smiling empathic faces, kind words, and thoughtful gestures. In fact, I have been overwhelmed. They have given me, by example a reminder to slow down and value my errands with my Dad, and to not make him feel rushed no matter what I have on my plate.  Sometimes we forget how affecting our own acts of kindness can be and, as with my Dad, I have seen their rewards in his grateful thank you at the end of a fun day.

Have any of you received any random acts in the midst of the season that sometimes gets a bad wrap?

See what I did there? :-)

Barbara: Great stories, Deb! And great question.

I think the seasonal event that often gets a bad “wrap”—love that!—is the Christmas party. I admit I worry that I’ll be left in a corner, not knowing anyone, not knowing what to say. You know—the outsider of the cocktail party cliques. On Saturday, my husband and I went to a Christmas party where the only person we knew was the hostess. And, of course, she was going to be busy … being the hostess. But she is so lovely, so we decided to suck up our reticence and go make merry. And lo, everyone at the party was lovely and open and curious and interesting. We had a great time. I think good party etiquette is a lovely random act of Christmas. 


  1. Love the post . Actually I recieved an act of kindness yeasterday to be exact. I just got out of the hospital yeasterday, but when I got out even know I wasn't suppose to I was gonna go to work( I make a horrible patiant) but when I called my boss thinking that she would be mad that I was late she actually told me to take 2 days off and not to worry about it. Love ir.

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  3. So true...!!!! Love this post Deb...I had a similar experience today... i had my exam (yeah and i have been here the moment i reached home, waiting for your new post... :D) and i knew there was gonna be an annoying supervisor as always..... strangely our supervisor was this lovely woman... who was so helpful.. and not at all annoying.....Kindness is in the air i guess :P

  4. Lyndsie that is so lovely. Are you okay? Sending healing thoughts. Nice Shalaka, yes, kindness is in the air.

  5. The nursing staff at my brothers health centre. We had our family dinner there yesterday and they were so helpful. They not only helped me to set up which they certainly don't have to do but they were also careful to let my brother sleep in and to get him up as soon as I arrived so he could spend as much time with us as possible. They're always great caregivers though so I don't suppose it's such a random act.

  6. I've got a son who walks with elbow crutches and has a tendency to come to a stop right in front of people who are behind him as we enter a busy store (for instance), because he likes to look around. He is 23 and has been doing this since he started walking at around age 3, and like you Deb with your dad, I'm always pleasantly surprised at how patient and kind people are with him.

    The thing with your step reminds me to ask, what did you end up doing with the situation where people who work for you were leaving you last on their to-do list? I know you kind of regretted posting an entry about it, so I'll apologize in advance if I shouldn't be bringing up the subject.

  7. Lovely post. I am usually the one surprising others. But I did have a great two hours with my granddaughter yesterday when she wanted to come and play with me.

  8. Deb
    That's so cute and lovely!

    I'm always in love with elder people, who can't rush, and just take their time. Most of the people, I randomly walk in, when I'm with my mom, are nice and helpful (not all...but most of them), and that's always nice.

    I'm quite in a hurry (yup, no time to sit back and relax), but I wanted to show you the Peanut Bars. I made them yesterday, and my mom and my aunt tried them. They loved them! They are very yummy! Thanks for the recipe! :D
    I kind of shredded the peanuts and the rice thingies (I didn't notice it said Rice Krispies) to dust...but who cares?

  9. Oh, I am so glad of today's post. It's such a nice aaaaaaahhhhh for my harried mind. I've been working extra hours at work, and it has been a very aggravating Sat., Sun., and today. So nice to read this, stop, and get a little bit of a holiday spirit cleansing.

    The first random act of Christmas kindness that registered with me this season was not directed at me, but I was a grateful, moved witness. It happened at work on Black Friday - typically a day in retail when people are at their worst! But, there was an older woman and an older couple both wanting the same artificial Christmas tree. We only had 1 left. The lady, couple, and I were trying to figure something out like having a 2nd tree transferred over from another store (which ended up happening a few days later). But, during this, the woman from the older couple paused, looked carefully at the other woman, and said, "Merry Christmas," and pointed at the tree box. "You take that one. Merry Christmas." The other woman literally teared up! She explained that this would be her first time having a tree in 8 years, and she described the serious health problems and financial worries she'd been struggling through. She said she was only doing a tree this year because she'd met a man, they'd fallen in love, and he'd encouraged her to resume celebrating Christmas. She was re-learning how to experience the holidays in a positive way. The woman who handed over the last tree didn't know all of this when she did it. It all flowed out of the other woman with her gratitude. I stood there witnessing this with my heart growing 2 sizes too big Grinch style.

  10. There are 2 more things in my heart on this subject, but I'm going to have to wait and see if I can type them later. I just got home from work, and I am so tired and sore but still have so much to do.

  11. Thanks Deb.. Yeah I'm ok just got onto an accident . I'm banged up pretty bad but ok .


  12. I love the idea of random acts of kindness. I am making that my New Years resolution, to try and give at least one random act of kindness each day. : )
    As for my Random act of Christmas:
    About this time last year my grandmother and I went shopping at the mall. On our way in we found a fifty dollar bill someone had dropped on the ground. We looked up but no one was around looking as if they had dropped anything. We waited a few minutes out in the cold to see if anyone came looking but no one did. We realized that this fifty could have been someone who really needed it for holiday shopping and we felt guilty just keeping it. Once in the mall we passed the tree that had all of the paper angel wishes on it. My grandmother and I decided that would be the perfect way to use the fifty dollars. We bought as many of those paper angel wishes as we could with the money.
    It made me feel so good being able to fulfill so many wishes for the children who might not be getting anything else for Christmas that year.
    This song by Jimmy Wayne is called Paper Angels and is a heartwarming tale of just how much the paper angel trees mean to those children. It is always at the top of my play list on my I-Pod this time of the year.

    -Kelly from NJ-

  13. Erin it's wonderful if it's not random. Either one works! Thanks Kate, that is a lovely reminder not only of how nice people can be, but how graceful your son is to attract their nicest side. As to your can always question anything I put out there. Here is how I solved it. I am starting to speak up when I am able in a fair but honest way in an attempt to open their minds to it and a dialogue around it...until sometimes, when I don't. BUT. I AM moving forward. I promise. It is a lifetime of don't rock the boat unlearned. But I am starting to rock it safely. Becki how lovely. You have the right idea. Thanks Barb for more yummy recipes that I will have my husband make!!!

  14. Just got back in after a long lovely day of holidaying. Offered my daughter a random act of Christmas by taking her for dim sum and the to watch Hugo. It felt positively decadent to relax this close to the madness. Thanks all for sharing your heartwarming stories! Really loved these. (paper angels!)

    And Becki, thanks for sharing the pics. Glad they turned out. PS I always break up the nuts by putting them in a ziploc bag and stepping on them! I swear. Works perfectly. As for the cereal, it should be added intact (and any "popped rice" cereal works, doesn't have to be the name brand).

  15. Oh Rigel that killed me. And it killed me because she didn't know. Lyndsie, what? Please report in. Are you okay????

  16. Yeah, my chest is banged up,and my back is messed up, and I injured my knee and I now have to have rehab on . And scrapes but ok. I got hit by a drunk driver

  17. Oh my god Lyndsie!!! I am so sorry. That is absolutely terrible. Please take care and don't try to push yourself too hard. Thinking of you and sending love!! xoxo Barbara

  18. Oh no Lyndsie I am so very sorry. You poor thing. I hope you have someone doting on you. We are sending love and healing thoughts. xoxoxox

  19. Aww thanks Deb and Barb. I'm could have been a lot worse so that's my Christmas thanks for this year. What can I say crap happens.

  20. Lyndsie!!! *sniffle* Oh, NO!!!!! OH, NO!!!!!!!! How horrible!!! *worries* Oh, you poor thing! How terrible!

    Was the drunk driver arrested? Was anyone else injured in the wreck? Do you have an alternate means of transportation?

    Oh, poor Lyndsie. :( Oh, you poor baby. :( :( :(

  21. Thanks Rigel, to answer ur ?s. Yes the driver was arrested. He was to drunk to know what was happening. No one else was injures, thank god and yes thank god I have another car, it's my boyfriends car. I'll just still his for a. While. My car got totaled . Which bites. I was more mad about my car than myself,

  22. Lyndsie this thank God you are in one piece! I know you are upset about the car and of course you have every right to be. But at least it was the car that was totaled and not you.

  23. Lyndsie, I am glad you are okay, too. I was in a car accident in my teens and it was a horric experience. I hope all in well and that you recover quickly! :)

  24. Oh no, Lyndsie! Glad it's not that "bad". Hope you're doing fine!

    I don't have a christmas story to add, but I think the small gestures, and the little surprises count most, and are more important than expensive gifts.

  25. Barbara
    I didn't use cereals...but as long as they taste good, I'm happy! :D

    Next time, I use the stepping on the nuts method.

    Oh and Deb
    I liked the idea of your friends' christmas tree. ♥

  26. First... LYNDSIE!! I'm so glad you survived and just the car was damaged significantly. I've been in 2 accidents where my car was totaled and I know the shock and fear you may be going through. I also walked away from both accidents. It's a good thing cars are being built for safety now.

    The random acts of Christmas I've been noticing are drivers allowing other cars to pull ahead of them, or pull out of their parking spaces, OR, and this is a biggie, YIELDING at the rotaries! Might not sound like a big deal, but with Boston drivers the way they (we) are, this is a noticeable accomplishment, ESPECIALLY the one with the rotaries.

    (You're supposed to yield to the cars already in the rotary. That usually doesn't happen, 'cause no one knows about or cares about it. It's usually a race to see who can get past each other the quickest.)

    This is a miracle on any street you wish to choose. :)


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