_The following post is written by my friend and colleague, Jen Bella. Jen is a psychotherapist and writer who lives, writes and spreads a multitude of joy in the Mount Washington Valley, NH.
Oi to The World
by Jen Bella
Every year we struggle to give each other the most wonderful and elaborate presents that money can buy. I would like to offer to alternative suggestions for spreading yuletide joy this season which, depending on your resources (or resolve), we can pick and choose which we may be able to accomplish.
1. Spend a day refraining from criticism.
2. Volunteer to clean up after a meeting.
3. Go through the park and collect all the trash.
4. Offer to wash your next door neighbor’s car.
5. Bake cookies and give them away to every person who drops by.
6. Give the secretary at your child’s school (often the unsung hero) a special holiday card letting her know how much you appreciate her.
7. Give the kids a day off from chores.
8. Bring your honey breakfast in bed-for no reason.
9. Go to a church you’ve never been to, open your mind, and listen to what they have to say.
10. Bring some cat and dog food up to the shelter.
11. Buy the Salvation Army bell ringer a cup of coffee.
12. Leave a sexy love note on your honey’s car.
13. Stick a note in your kid’s lunch letting them know how special you think they are.
14. Run some hot chocolate out to the plow guy.
15. Thank the cashier for working on a holiday.
16. Stick a Benjamin Franklin in the tip jar at your favorite coffee house.
17. Look people in eye and genuinely smile.
18. Be patient with strangers, but especially with loved ones.
19. Stop trying to be right all the time.
20. Embrace and practice the concept of empathy.
21. Practice tolerance, especially when someone’s appearance frightens you.
22. Call your parents and tell them about your happiest holiday memory that they helped to create.
24. Make a gratitude list and read it first thing every morning.
25. Even if they don’t want to at first-bake cookies with your kids.
26. View “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Elf” as a family.
27. Ask your teenager to show you his/her favorite You Tube video ... and don’t be judgmental.
28. Show your teenager a video of a dance that was popular when you were in high school.
29. Play “Monopoly”, “Sorry”, “Cranium” or “Pictionary” with your family.
30. Take some fudge to the volunteers selling Christmas trees at the fire stations, the shelter, and lots.
31. Pile the kids in the car and go look at the holiday lights.
32. Take an aspiring ballerina to a performance of the “Nutcracker”.
33. Make a mixed CD of unusual holiday songs such as No Doubt’s “Oi To the World”, “Christmas Tree” by Lady Gaga or “Father Christmas” by the Kinks.
34. Host an “orphan’s party” for all your friends who may be spending the holidays alone this year.
35. Call each of your friends on the phone and let them know why you’re glad they’re in your life.
36. Learn the historical origins of Christmas and Hanukah and share it with your family.
37. Give your cat or dog an extra special brushing or grooming.
38. Make suet the old fashioned way and hang a bunch in your yard.
39. Introduce your kids (who haven’t tried it) to the joys of real maple syrup on fresh fallen snow.
40. Be as helpful as you can.
41. Express love through your eyes to everyone you see.
42. Remember that the worst of pain is often the best hidden. Resolve to never carelessly add to someone’s pain, but work to ease it.
43. The least loveable among us are often the most in need of love. Push outside of your comfort zone to reach out to those who are most in need.
44. Make a bucket list.
45. Start working on your bucket list.
46. Get in touch with your sense of wonder.
47. Embrace humility.
48. If you are unhappy, look inward for the answers.
49. Don’t “practice” Christianity, Buddhism or Islam, etc.. BE a Buddha, a Christ, a Mohammed.
50. Look around for the ones you love the most, and thank them for being best Christmas presents you could ever ask for!
Jen Bella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at her North Conway office at 603-356-7345.
Transition on Purpose