The holidays: a busy time that is commonly accompanied by stress, chaos, and crankiness (that last one is typically caused by the other two). I am not immune to these; just this morning, I was running frantically from one errand to the next, determined to make the most of my “free time”, which was just an hour and 28 minutes this morning.
Dealing with the stress and chaos of preparing for my family’s holidays (Hanukkah and Christmas…our house is so festive this time of year!) definitely caused some crankiness for me this morning. I was tired of encountering rude people every where I went. I mean, seriously, would it kill people to smile and be pleasant to the tired cashier that is on the rough end of everyone’s bad moods?
Anyway, by the time I headed over to the kids’ school to volunteer at their Epcot Day event, I was in a fairly foul mood. In fact, I was so overwhelmed by the fact that I now have one week left before the kids are out of school (which means that my restricted free time will be completely nonexistent from 12/19-1/5…and that’s a long time!), that I was ready to give in and let myself be taken over by the Grinchy, bah-humbug spirit that creeps in every now and then. But, I plastered on a smile and marched in to the school, ready to help out with this truly great event for the kids.
Each December, the PTO puts on Epcot Day, during which the kids learn about our global community through presentations, crafts, and activities representative of that year’s countries. It is a huge undertaking, but the kids love it and it is really a great day. My job today was to help out at the Marketplace; each student is given two “dollars” to buy trinkets that cost one “dollar” each. There were several things from which to choose: pencils, erasers, keychains, worry dolls, nesting-type wooden dolls, ornaments, friendship bracelets. Every twenty minutes a new group of kids came through the gym, and the Marketplace was one of the activities.
I was amazed at how carefully the children shopped; each item was taken into careful consideration before a purchase was made. During my “shift”, the older kids came through first and were a bit more decisive, and much quieter about their choices. But, when the younger kids started to trickle through the gym, the process started to take a bit longer. I soon realized why that was so, as the younger kids were more willing to chat about their purchases.
One little boy chose an ornament, handed me his “dollar” and said “My mom will love this!” Another boy picked out a ring (made of tightly rolled paper, maybe?), and told me that it was for his mom, and that he would have to be careful to hide it from her so she wouldn’t find it before Christmas. One of my youngest son’s friends selected a little wooden doll, explaining that he chose it for his sister. Many dads will be the recipients of key chains and pencils, while grandmothers will receive handwritten notes on postcards chosen by their grandchildren.
I was blown away. These kids were given this “money”, with no expectations except that they could only choose two things from the Marketplace. They could have easily selected two souvenirs for themselves, but so many of them were thinking of others they could gift these trinkets to on Christmas morning. It was heartwarming, and definitely restored my holiday spirit on a day when I really needed it.
Grinchy attitudes, be gone. These young people need to have better examples to look up to so that their beautiful little holiday hearts won’t be crushed as they get older.