Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Christmas fail

What did you enjoy most about working in the PR office? It’s a traditional question asked of “our” seniors as they prepare to leave the nest.

Ali, a four-year PR veteran who will be student teaching at McComb next semester, said that she most enjoyed decorating the PR house for Christmas. Oops.

See, this is the first year that we didn’t ask the students to set up the Christmas tree as one of their “other duties as assigned.” No stockings or garland hung from the banister. No Creche, candles or greenery on the mantle. The morning before our Christmas luncheon, a colleague did fashion a holiday centerpiece.

Katie, the other student “leaving us” to student teach in Spencerville next semester, decorated my office. It took all of five minutes to set up a mini-Nativity, plop a pre-decorated mini-tree on a shelf and hang one Charlie Brown ornament on my tree wall hanging.

What an epic Christmas fail.

I know what we were thinking. After Thanksgiving, there was just one week of classes followed by finals week. In that short time, there were stories and videos and web updates that HAD to be finished before they left for break.

Maybe it’s just me, but does Christmas sometimes feel like an intrusion? In addition to my normal to-do-list we also have to shop, and wrap, and decorate. And we ought to send out cards and bake cookies. Then we have to go to…

There is a saying that I loved many years ago as a new mom: “quiet down cobwebs...dust go to sleep...I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep!”

What if we’d adapt that same mentality toward Advent? Maybe something like:
Quiet down ‘have-to’s’…
‘Ought-to’s’ go to sleep…
I’m welcoming my Savior as Christmas I’ll keep.

Wishing you all a relaxed, refreshing, very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

Over the past weekend I've heard of three occasions where a random stranger paid another’s bill, twice at a restaurant and once at a gas station.

What a wonderful way to start the holiday season. I don’t know how the benefactor felt, but the recipients were absolutely floored by this random gift, this gift given anonymously with no strings attached.

As I pulled out cash for lunch in The Commons a while back, the student behind me in line ‘swiped’ twice and paid for my lunch. I didn’t know him. Not sure of his motivation, maybe he just didn’t want to wait for the clerk to make change, but I’ll always remember how blessed I felt by his act of generosity.

On Twitter yesterday I started seeing references to #givingTuesday. My initial sarcastic thought, after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday – who has anything left to give?

A little research revealed that yesterday was the second annual #givingTuesday, created as a day to “encourage charitable activities that support non-profit organizations.” Interesting idea.

Reading further revealed that comparing giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving 2011 to the first #givingTuesday in 2012, there was a nearly 50 percent increase in online donations to nonprofits through Blackbaud and DonorPerfect, (two popular online donation sites) and #givingTuesday trended on Twitter. Obviously this interesting idea is meeting a human need to support something bigger than ourselves.

While we may have missed the official #givingTuesday of 2013, luckily we don’t need to confine random acts of kindness, or giving, to a certain day. Any day can become a #givingDay.