Now it’s my turn and I have to get this off my chest.
Less than 30 days ago, I had a total “O-M-G!” experience. The kind you talk about with your closest friends.
No, it’s not that kind of “O-M-G!” experience.
Remember, this is a holiday blog tour.
Santa is the only one who needs to know when I’ve been naughty or nice.
But this experience was just as O-M-G!
Last November, the students at my school collected, sorted and packed over 5,000 non-perishable food items into a church van to help feed the needy in our community. It was a beautiful sight.
And I couldn’t wait to see their same giving spirit in this year’s toy drive benefiting children in foster care. Instead, I was smacked around by Scrooges to my left and Scrooges to my right. What happened to my “O-M-G” people? Who sucked out their souls?
Where were the three ghosts of Christmas? Why weren’t they haunting these people into action?
What could I say to get them to understand that their donations could make a huge impact on others?
So I told them this story.
When I was about 18 years old and a freshman in college, my family was going through some tough times during the Christmas season. We lived in a lovely four-bedroom house with a pool. We weren’t dirt poor but this wasn’t going to be one of our best gift giving Christmases. I don’t know the specifics but I knew we simply hit a snag. But it was a snag I’ll never forget.
On Christmas Eve, we were getting ready to celebrate the holiday with our traditional Colombian soup, Ajiaco. One of my sisters was in the sunken living room chatting away on the cordless phone, my other little sister was in her room and my baby brother was playing on the floor.
I was in the dining room when the doorbell rang. My sister was closest to the door but she was immersed in her important teenage conversation. After the second doorbell ring, she finally got up to answer the door. By this time, my mom and the other adults left the kitchen curious to know our visitor. When my sister opened the door, she saw no one. Instead she saw something totally unexpected.
From the front door, down the walkway entrance to the mailbox was a trail of wrapped gifts, my mom and sister were stunned. They stepped out looking to spot the Santa with a hole in his sack.
Evidently, we were the recipients of a secret Santa or Santas.
Each beautifully wrapped gift had our names on it. There were even gifts for the adults. We aren’t talking rinky dinky gifts either. Each gift had a personalized touch. For example, my mom received Isotoner slippers (umm yeah that was a big deal back in the day) and my baby brother received a play tent. We were all so happy with our presents and curious to know who was this generous Santa.
Days, weeks, months and decades later, we still don’t know the person or persons who made our holiday a special one with giving hearts. I’ll never be able to thank them in person. So what could I do?
Pay It Forward
From then on, if I saw someone in need and it was within my means to help him/her out, I did.
It could be buying a hot dog for a homeless person in Atlanta, Georgia during a business trip to paying for someone’s toll when there were actual humans collecting the quarters from drivers.
So every year, I do my best to rally my students into donating toys because I really believe that one doll or toy car can make a difference in a child.
We don’t need to be rich in the wallet to be rich in the heart.
Have you had a Pay It Forward Experience?
I’d love to hear about it.
Happy holidays! Please continue following the holiday blog tour. Next up is another Natasha! You can’t have too many of us!