Particulate Matters: It’s Better to Give
It’s “that time” again! The collective end-of-year holidays—Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the big welcome celebration for 2019—are in full swing, and I trust that by the time you read this message, sometime after the season ends, everyone will have enjoyed a fun, safe, and blessed month (when you approach it from a literal sense, the holiday season really is close to a month long).
Of course, the highlight of holiday time involves the exchange of gifts, or “presents.” To the younger set (kids), receiving presents for whichever holiday being observed is, in a word, “everything.” When I check social media during the holidays, I enjoy seeing photos of friends’ children and the delight in their faces as they show off the cool stuff they received. And, even for us grown folks, getting nice things (be them wants or needs) from friends and loved ones is cool.
However, Christmas at our home isn't highlighted by a tall, decorated tree with lots of wrapped packages at its base. As these things go, my wife, Crystal, and I typically don't get each other anything expensive or over the top, because there usually isn't anything we desperately want or even need to receive specifically for Christmas. Throughout the year, I acquire a lot of car/truck-guy stuff, and she stays updated with the latest high-tech electronic gizmos.
Presenting each other with something—one thing—that’s simple and useful is pretty much how it goes for us. She gave me an Amazon gift card (which I certainly will put to good use), and I hooked her up with an Uber card that will cover several rides to and from the train station (for her daily work commute) and wherever else she doesn’t feel like driving. Really, seriously, we’re good.
I also received some very nice gifts from friends, cool stuff that I appreciate very much, and work associates, like my buddies “The Ryans (Gelinas and Husted)” of R&R Brand Management and Danie Minor from the Imre agency, sent me very thoughtful presents, too.
It has all been good. No, it’s been great, and I hope you all feel the same way. But I want everyone to just take a minute to think about how privileged we all are to be able to celebrate holidays. To be able to go to work and make a living, and buy diesel trucks, engines, parts, and other things we want (not just stuff we need), and eat abundant meals, and sleep in a warm bed. For the most part, we’re pretty damn privileged all year round.
Crystal and I closed Christmas 2018 by sharing with people who are not as privileged as we are and aren’t able to celebrate holidays like we do. Folks who have great concern about their next hour, let alone the New Year. Just before Christmas ended, Crys packaged hearty meals and I ventured into the cold night to give dinners to people who unfortunately live in the streets. I didn't ask folks for their names or details about their circumstances, or anything like that. In the big picture, it isn’t important. "Are you hungry, do you want something to eat?" was the only question that mattered.
The holidays always make me feel grateful, and I’m happy we were blessed to have enough food to share with people who may not know where their next hot meal will come from. Trust me, the whole “getting” thing is cool. But being able to give like that is one of the best feelings ever! Try it sometime. You’ll see.
Happy New Year, everyone! Best wishes for a great 2019.