Tonight, on Christmas Eve, my husband and I loaded up the car with three kids and two rambunctious dogs, our mission to deliver Christmas goodies. But this year had a different feel. For the past several years, our family had delivered Christmas plates to friends and neighbors. But my heart had been feeling like we needed to share the holiday cheer with people who may need a little extra joy in their life. For most of us, the holidays are filled with so much joy and wonder, but for some the holiday season is lonely and sad. Their hearts ache for their families both far and gone.
This year, I asked for help from my Facebook friends, hoping to get one or two names of elderly people or families who needed to know that they were being thought of. We received the names of five people, all elderly. My heart was giddy, and I was hoping that people would be pleasantly surprised to find my wild bunch on their doorsteps.
One of the gals wasn’t home so on to the next. With each visit, my kids got more excited, offering hugs and words of goodwill to these strangers. By the end, they wanted to deliver more and more.
People’s reactions warmed my heart and made my holiday season. I had done what I set out to do. I gave something small to people, but for them—and myself—it meant the world.
Two people tugged at my heartstrings the most, the first being Joyce, an elderly lady who I later learned lost year husband just about a year ago. With children and grandchildren living miles and miles away she would be spending the holiday alone. My daughter, Quinn, rang the doorbell and Joyce quickly opened her door.
She looked a bit confused at first. Who is this lady and her three kids standing on my doorstep? I told her we were there to offer some extra holiday cheer and had a bag of goodies for her. She threw her hands to her face, overjoyed, nearly in tears. We gave hugs and offered our merry wishes. She got a good chuckle out of my son who was jumping in snowbanks. I got into the car, my eyes watery. I will be showing up on Joyce’s doorstep again, but I won’t wait a year to do so.
Our final stop of the night. I was pointed in the direction of recent widower, Don. He would be spending his first Christmas alone, without his wife. We knocked on the door. We knew he was waiting. I could see him in the window. I’m sure he doesn’t get a lot of visitors at 7pm. He saw our headlights and was ready for us. My two oldest pushed themselves right inside, bag of goodies in hand. By this time, the youngest had fallen asleep in the car. Don was in awe, and we chatted for a while. He inquired about who we were and asked the kids their ages. He told me I must be Santa and repeated several times “how nice this was.” I offered my condolences on the loss of his wife earlier this spring. He was fighting back tears, and guess what, I was too. We hugged and became fast friends.
I returned to the car full of sadness for his loss and what this holiday must feel like for him but also my heart felt warm. I and my family had delivered the greatest gift: kindness. We will be visiting him again. My husband suggested the next time we should bring a pie. Don told me he likes to eat, so I may have found a new home for some of my baked goods.
The kids loved the feeling of giving, especially my oldest.
At seven, and with a huge heart, she understands how important it is to care for others. Don’t wait for Christmas to pass on good cheer, and you don’t have to deliver stuff all over town. Find that one person who just needs a warm hug and friendly smile.