For the past few weeks throughout the city you could feel the rumbling of the crowds. When you went into the stores you could see people sliding from one cash register to another in an attempt to pay for their items quickly so they can move to the next store to wait on the next line. I saw one lady on the subway with what seemed like a million bags. I wondered how she could carry so many gifts. When the train stopped at 42nd Street, my question was answered when a second set of arms appeared from under her coat and picked up all those bags.  Her glowing eyes peered at me over her sunglasses.  I gave her a nod of approval and two thumbs up. It was clear that she was not going to be denied having some nice things for her family under the tree.

I usually wait until the last possible second before I begin to buy things for my loved ones. It’s not because I don’t like the Christmas season. I love this time of the year. The streets are all decorated with Christmas lights. On every other corner there are vendors selling Christmas trees. There is nothing better than the smell of those trees. The best part about this time of year is that everyone seems to be filled with holiday spirit.

George, one of my coworkers, came up with a great idea for this holiday season. Another one of our coworkers, Andy, is undergoing dialysis and is unable to work. He has been out for a few months. George thought it would be a nice gesture if we could all donate money and give Andy a nice Christmas.  The turnout was remarkable. We raised about $1500 in about three days. One of the donators, Frank, wrote a check for $500. This is what the Christmas spirit is all about.

George went to visit Andy last Saturday. He met him at the dialysis center. He gets his treatments three times a week with one of those days being Saturday.  George told us that Andy was very surprised and deeply moved  by what we had done for him .

Giving is what it is all about during this time of year. I can’t help but think about all the other Andy’s that have no one to help them. These days are very difficult for some people. The food pantries are full with people who don’t have enough to eat and Christmas is just another day that they have to fight hunger and finding a warm, safe place to live.

I am very grateful that I have a place to stay and plenty of food to eat. Before I go to bed each night I thank God for what I have. This feeling of gratitude is what I try to get my kids to develop.

In a much earlier post I explained why I feel that the myth of Santa Clause has to be exposed. I feel it is very important for kids, at an early age, to understand who is really doing the buying and in some cases what sacrifices are being made to make sure they have what they want under the tree.

In recent years I have chosen to take my kids along with me so they can pick out exactly what they want. I have them make a list of ten or eleven items. I have a certain amount of money that I am going to spend, I make them aware of that amount and off we go to have some fun. I almost always go a little over but it’s nice to watch their excitement as they pick out what they want. The only thing is that they can’t play with or use whatever is bought until Christmas.

This is what I do and if you do something else it’s OK. I promise not to talk about you, at least not in front of you. The bottom line is that we must work as hard as we can to spend as much time as we can with the people we love.

Merry Christmas!!


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