2017 was very difficult for a lot of people in my world, myself included. Over the past months I’ve occasionally felt like I was floundering in all the bad news, tragedies and crises. The thing that has helped me out of those dark spots was to make a concerted effort to seek out and focus on positive things going in the world — things are are far too often overshadowed by the bad.
WIth that thought at the very forefront of my mind I decided to make the theme for this year’s Giftmas Blog Tour ‘Shining a Light’.
By sharing our stories and raising money to help feed hungry families, my hope is that this blog tour will be a light as well.
Our fundraising goal is $522 (that’s one dollar more than we raised last year!). Because the Edmonton Food Bank can stretch every donated dollar into three meals if we reach our goal we will have contributed 1,566 meals to families this season, but we can’t do it without you.
If you are able, please donate to our fundraiser for the Edmonton Food Bank. Every dollar counts and, in addition to the warm feeling that comes with helping others, we are also offering a whack of goodies to every person who contributes. You can check out the details and claim your rewards by clicking here but those rewards include ebooks, holiday cards, stickers, Tuckerizations, handicrafts and more!
And here is the most important link in this whole blog tour:
You’ve heard the saying, “Not every hero wears a cape” or something to that effect, yeah? Well, in the spirit of that and our theme of ‘Shining a Light’ I wanted to spend a portion of this blog tour highlighting those cape-less crusaders whose actions make other people’s holidays just a little bit more special. For this post I asked the blog tour contributors to share a brief story about the time someone did something to make their holidays (or just their day) better.
The story I want to share in response to that happened a long time ago. Dani was very little (2 or 3). I was a single mom, working full time and going to school, and money was very freaking tight. I’d managed to get some presents under the tree, though, and (probably thanks to the food bank, though I’m not 100% on that) there was plenty of food in the house. It was a good Christmas.
Then, when we turned up at my grandmother’s place for the big family Christmas dinner, it turned into a great Christmas. Apparently Santa Claus had made a mistake when it came to addresses and in addition to the Teletubbies he’d left for Dani under our tree, he’d also left something at Grammy’s for her. It was a huge bubblegum pink Barbie van with all sorts of cool features (it even transformed into a stage with working speakers!). Dani, who was all about Barbies then, loved it. And more than the present I loved the fact one of my uncles had gone pretty far out of his way to get a present and credit Santa Claus for it, just to make sure Dani didn’t just have a good Christmas, she had a magical one.
“There are a couple of specific times I can remember when, despite the fact I was working forty-plus hours a week, I was also hungry. Nearly fifteen years ago I was working at a Big Ten university where the pay was above minimum wage, but just barely. I was drowning in debt and trying to pay for grad school as well as work full time. At my lunch break, I went out to my car and tried to scrounge up enough money for a meal. When I got to Taco Bell, I ordered my bean burrito and didn’t have enough for a drink. Something in my face must have told the guy behind the counter just how much I wanted that Dr. Pepper, and that I wasn’t lying when I said I didn’t have the money. That guy, who was probably a college student trying to make ends meet himself, bought my drink for me. Was it a huge expense? No. Would it solve all my problems? No. But just by showing me a little human kindness, that guy shone the light of hope into my day. And when I give to others today, I hope I’m honoring his gift to me.”
“This may sound cheesy, but I’m grateful every single day. I say “thank you” more than a dozen times a day, for big things and small, to everyone from my husband to a cashier to my dog, and I really think it helps all of us.”
“After working out-of-province for a week, I recently came home to find Christmas lights coruscating outside and the pubs, markets, and row houses of my “Dickens Village” glowing within. One of my best friends had put up the lights, and my daughter arranged the miniature Victorian village. The pulsing jewel tones outside and the gentle colours within warmed my heart and welcomed me home.”
“My grandma is like a superhero to me. She adores Christmas. She has never lost that child-like joy for the holiday. She collects Santa Clauses, and squeals with joy when she gets new additions for her collection. One of the major lessons she imparted on me early on is that good things should not be confined to any one time of year. Her favorite Santas stayed on display all the time. Christmas music that you love doesn’t need to wait until after Thanksgiving–if you feel like listening to it in July, crank it up! The same with food. Tuck away favorite holiday treats in the fridge, and enjoy then in April or July. My grandma is in her 90s now, so this lesson of “enjoy now, don’t wait!” is even more important than ever.”
“Once upon a time, when I was a wee lad, the family would make the pilgrimage from our home in Maryland to New York for the holidays. I respect that my parents for making that slog 2-3 times a year for to visit relatives. During one such trip, where it was pretty much a blizzard, we ended up into a snow bank in the middle of nowhere. Fortune smiled on us pretty hard when a tow truck arrived about 30 minutes later leading a line of cars. It saved us from spending a night there. Saved us from a ruined trip.”
“Hands down, one of the nicest things anyone ever did for me was when my husband put Christmas lights on the thirty foot evergreen in front of our new-to-us house. My dad used to light up the evergreens on the farm, and I loved how they welcomed us when we drove up the highway to visit at Christmastime. My husband worked long and hard on our tree, and it looked spectacular. It absolutely made my Christmas that year. It also started the Christmas decorating challenge with our next door neighbours, (which they have won for ten years in a row, darn it anyhow) but that is another story. “
“One Christmas, a few years back, my heroes were the staff of Central Middlesex Hospital and The London Ambulance Service. Dad was in hospital over Christmas. Mum and I had been in to see him on the day and had come home again, but the stress of the experience affected my mother’s health. Cue emergency call and a visit from a wonderfully professional but supportive ambulance team, who coped with our needs and the vitriolic abuse of at least one driver, because the presence of an ambulance in our road meant that he had to drive an extra one minute detour. I ended up with both parents in hospital, in separate wards, over Christmas, but all turned out well in the end, as they say.”
“The tiniest things can make a normal day extra special. I got a warm fuzzy feeling once when a student of mine gave me a fruit basket, just because. The best thing about this was that she managed to completely surprise me with this, and I love being surprised in a good way. This was in summer, not winter, but it did make my day.”
“Two years ago, my brother and I were fighting about the cooking for Christmas. I didn’t want to do anything. We argued while putting up our tree and star. And I just wanted to make a simple meal. I was quite unhappy at work. Every Christmas before that had been the same, lonely and without family. That year was not going to be any different. I returned home from a long day at the clinic and an even longer commute. The house was a mess and I was ranting at my brother, when I went to the bedroom only to find my parents, especially my dad with tears in his eyes, standing behind the door. I leaped on him. It had been the first Christmas in 10 years that my family spent together. Two years later he was gone. So I always cherish that Christmas. He made that decision for some reason to travel to see us for Christmas from Kuwait and it was the best thing he ever did! Heroes don’t wear capes!”
And now maybe it’s our turn to, if not be a ‘hero’ at least make your holiday a wee bit more special if you win this Rafflecopter. Check out the full list of prizes by clicking here (there are too many to list in this space) and enter. You get one free entry every day and you can earn extra ones by donating to our fundraiser or boosting our signal 🙂