The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Holiday Spirit

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1988

Issue: December, 1988

At Christmas time, a traditional time of joy and closeness with our fellow human beings, many people instead of feeling joy, feel lonely and depressed. The following is a list of things that cost little to nothing, but will make you feel better about yourself. Try some of them and see if they don't lift your Christmas spirit. Do some thinking and come up with other ideas of your own.

Do something for a neighbor, a relative you haven't seen in a long time, or a shut-in. It could be something as simple as a phone call or card to say Merry Christmas. It could be something you have baked, a jar of homemade jelly or some fruit. The main idea is to let them know that someone is thinking about them.

Make a trip to a local nursing home. Ask at the office if there is someone who doesn't get any visitors. Go to that person's room and introduce yourself and visit for a while. You might take a few magazines with you. You will both enjoy the new friendship.

Make an effort to smile as you meet people in your day to day schedule. The girl at the check out line in the grocery store or the attendant at the service station might be having a hard day and appreciate a smile.

Do something for your community, no matter how small the effort on your part. If there is a community emergency storehouse of clothes and food, see if you have anything to contribute. There are hundreds of volunteer opportunities in every community from driving people to doctor's appointments, to hospital, to work; from manning the phone at a humane society to reading to children at the library or local school.

Offer to baby sit for someone so they can go out to dinner or shopping. Baby sitting can mean more than you know to young parents.

If you have the time and means, adopt a pet that needs a home. Strays are just as loving and intelligent as registered animals. Caring for a pet cures a lot of loneliness. They are affectionate and always happy to see you.

Go to a Christmas parade, open house celebration, local craft show, or any of the many events that are usually scheduled during the holidays in every town. Call someone who doesn't get out often and see if they would like to go with you.

Bake cookies and leave a plate of them in your mailbox for the mailman. Your thoughtfulness will make his day and let him know your appreciation.

Ask a local kindergarten or head start teacher what they could use for the children. They make lots of things from egg cartons, plastic margarine tubs, old magazines and such. Many times we do not realize what the worth of the things we throw out would be to someone else.

Go to the public library and check out books on subjects you enjoy. If you are feeling lonely or down, read something uplifting.

If you are a senior citizen, there are activity programs in every community. Take advantage of them. Some centers offer pot luck meals, craft groups, planned trips and many other things. Most even offer transportation from your home to the community center.

In short, give of yourself and you will find you have received something in the process. Be thoughtful of others in small ways. It will be appreciated.