Above Board: How Can We Give of Ourselves?

It’s funny how the holiday season rolls around without fail every year, and as you get older the faster it seems to come around. As a child my least favorite day of the year was the day after Christmas. I would think “I have to wait another whole year for Christmas again….bah humbug.” As a child I was given memorable toys such as a racetrack and a Barbie doll, and it was all about opening the presents. As I grew older I understood what a wonderful gift I received by giving to others, especially during the holidays.

It is often during the holiday season that people are at their most generous, with both their deeds and their money. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, we begin to think of holiday gifts for our loved ones, and we may also begin to focus on how we can give back to the larger world. How can we give of ourselves this year, and generate that warm feeling of a holiday spirit deep within us?

Gestures such as serving at the soup kitchen or donating used clothing to a homeless shelter are admirable ideas but the hectic holiday pace often creates a roadblock to following through on those ideas.

Here are some simple ideas that take very little time and effort, but give back and create that holiday spirit around others and within you.

Offer forgiveness. It is not only the season of giving but also the season of forgiving. Is there someone in your life waiting for your forgiveness?

Be a friend. In the rush of the season we often forget to call a friend, or to stop for a moment to ask how someone is doing. One small gesture can make someone’s day.

Visit friends and family. One of my favorite holiday traditions is going with my niece to visit my distandt cousing, so she’ll know her extended family. It’s a gift of family stories and history.

Give comfort. We all know that the holidays are not only a happy time, but also a sad time for some. A gentle look or a warm embrace may be all that’s needed to lessen another’s pain.

Giving to UUCA, whether through a financial pledge or a gift of your time (in my case, singing in the choir and serving on the Board), fills me with that warm holiday spirit all year long. The 2010 pledge drive has been in full swing for the past few months and many of us have given our annual pledge to support all the work at UUCA. We thank everyone for their financial support and encourage those who have not pledged to do so. Some less well known ways to support UUCA include shopping in the UUCA bookstore for a holiday of birthday gift, buying fair trade coffee for the coffee lover in your life, or purchasing a wonderful work of art from the art shows UUCA hosts each month.

So please keep in mind the many ways you can warm your spirit and the spirit of others during this holiday season.

Happy holidays everyone,
Penni A. Dudley, UUCA Board of Trustees Member