It’s that time of year. Well, every day is that time of year but especially the next few months. Parties and celebrations. Gift giving and family dinners. All the begging letters which have already started to arrive in my mailbox. So much. So much. So much. What to do?
This is not my normal art and gardening and books and country living blog post, but a revelation of some of the other things that occupy my thoughts.
We are often on the receiving end of gifts from the universe. Family who invite us to holiday dinners. A friend who gives us that special scarf we’ve been eyeing. Maybe the book on your wish list shows up in your mailbox.
But just how do we express our thanks and gratitude? Do people still send those bread and butter notes? A heart-felt thank you and hug as you depart your host? Even the smallest note or gesture is appreciated.
Just how do you recognize the thoughtfulness of others? Dinners, gifts, donations?
And what do we expect when we are on the giving end? Yes, I realize that we should do kind things for others without thought of recognition or thanks. That is the ideal but, frankly, most of us feel put out if no one says anything, especially thank you. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. Because we have put effort into some action and feel disappointed if no one recognizes it.
I was brought up that if I said even the least ungrateful thing to a gift of an ugly sweater from old Aunt Alice, my mother would have smacked me upside the head. Well, not really. But there would have been some serious squinting across the table and a “meaningful” look. You know what I mean.
So, maybe you can’t afford to buy that new wing for your college library but there are many other things you can do. Volunteer your time at your local food bank or animal shelter. Kind words for the workers at the library. Invite friends for dinner….OR….take dinner to your friends, especially the elderly and shut-ins.
And, when you are on the receiving end, remember to say Thank You! Be grateful. Sit outside and soak in the sun with gratitude for being alive. Tell Aunt Mary how delicious that soup was that she brought you when you broke your ankle. Write a check to your favorite charity. Or even order a bouquet of flowers anonymously for those wonderful people at the library. Encourage a child who has mastered a new talent or drawn you a picture of their favorite animal.
It’s all about giving and receiving. Be grateful and say thank you for what you have or receive. And maybe lower your expectations for those who forget to show appreciation for something you have done for them. The kindness you send out into the universe always comes back to you, eventually.