Around this time of year, we often think more about others than we do throughout the other eleven months. We think about our close family and friends, and express our gratitude to them for their role in our lives. We think about the less fortunate, and try to help them in any way that we can.
But these things don’t just happen because we suddenly decide to take an interest in others. For the most part, they happen because of the Holiday Season, and the thoughtfulness and compassion that comes along with it.
There is nothing wrong with this – it’s great that the Holidays encourage us to appeal to a different side of ourselves. We see an advertisement for an opportunity to help someone, and suddenly we’re not just another consumer in line. Suddenly we have a chance to transform into someone else. A volunteer, or a donor, or a sponsor, or a contributor; something that despite the name, yields the same end result: helping others.
Especially in the month of December, it is common to see charities and organizations reaching out for support, and it is common to see people giving that support. These charities and organizations do exist during the rest of the year (it’s not as though they only exist during the Holiday Season!), it’s just that their existence is more prominent, and perhaps more valued, at this time of year.
Imagine if the kindness and generosity that is so closely associated with this time of year was normal. Imagine, instead of just making an effort to be kind in the days leading up to Christmas, we made a conscious effort to be kind every day of the year. Wouldn’t the world be different?
I don’t mean to suggest that in December, a halo magically appears above everyone’s heads and they start being kind, and the rest of the year they channel the energy of the Grinch. What I do mean to suggest is that around the Holidays, we are more aware of what is going on around us, and we try to reach out and help change those things. And if we can do that for one month, why can’t we do it for twelve?
With only a few days left until Christmas, and the feeling of Holiday cheer increasing with every carol sung and present wrapped, it is easy to get caught up in the season and forget to extend your efforts past the month of December. Carry the spirit of the Holiday season with you even when the snow melts and the word December disappears from your calendar, and you will be surprised not only by the effect this has on others, but also by the effect it has on you.