Even during the best of times, it takes me awhile to feel the Christmas spirit. I figured this year was going to take me longer than most to get there. So I'm doing everything that I possibly can to jump start that Christmas feeling.
Our tree has been up for almost a week. We've hung wreaths on our doors and stockings on our mantle. We've strung garland on our front porch and colored lights on the bushes. We've made our family's traditional sugar cookies and decorated them while listening to Christmas carols. Our cards are not only written, but mailed. My shopping is done and there are wrapped packages in the attic. Holiday invitations arrive almost daily in the mail. And still...no sign of the spirit.
I am not a total Grinch. Believe me, I realize that Christmas comes without ribbons, and it comes without tags, it comes without packages, boxes and bags. I totally get that it doesn't come from a store or from an oven or via e-mail....or does it?
I have a confession: while I'm happy to buy a gift for a teacher, a coach or bus driver, I must admit that sometimes I get more satisfaction from crossing it off of my to-do list, than I do from the actual act of giving. So when an e-mail arrived the other day from a neighbor saying that she was trying to arrange a neighborhood gift for our postman, I immediately sent her one back saying that I was in, and then promptly added it to my to-do list. (And was looking forward to getting it off of my to-do list.)
I am the keeper of our neighborhood network (which is basically a collection of neighbor's e-mail addresses) so I offered to forward her e-mail to the rest of the neighbors on the street. Those who were interested, the e-mail stated, were to place a holiday greeting or envelope in their mailbox marked for our postman on December 19th. The note went on to say that he is a great postman, a wonderful person and always brightens our day; wouldn't it be nice if we could all pick the same day to let him know how much he is appreciated.
Within an hour my inbox was filled with notes from neighbors expressing their joy at this simple gesture. "He is such a lovely man and what a beautiful surprise this will be for him." wrote one neighbor. "Can you imagine an envelope in the majority of mailboxes for HIM!" wrote another. And from another neighbor came, "For some reason this e-mail made me choke up. He is our favorite postman of all time and we love him dearly. I am so touched that everyone else feels the same way. This is what Christmas is all about."
Maybe, just maybe, my small heart grew three sizes that day? And the minute my heart didn't feel quite so tight...the spirit of Christmas finally felt right! Perhaps I had to spread a little of the spirit before I could actually feel it? Regardless, I think I'm more excited about December 19th than I am about December 25th...