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Getting Christmas back

You may remember from this post that I have been suffering from a case of the “single during the holidays for the first time in a decade” blues. It hit me hard, and it hit me suddenly. In fact, I didn’t realize how depressed I was until I was half-way done writing that post.

Proof that I have to special order my hats.

Believe it or not, it originally was meant to be a humor post. My biggest mistake was writing it right before I left on a date with a really beautiful girl. I finished it minutes before she arrived at my home, and I was so down that I sat like a blank-faced turd for the entire first-half of the evening. I’m actually surprised she stuck around. Thank goodness she did because the last half of the date was at least a little better than a kick in the face.

Anyway, I’ve been fighting to get the Christmas spirit back ever since. There have definitely been ups and downs. I still haven’t found the needed oomph to put up a big Christmas tree, but I have done several things with Noah that have been magical. Some of my single friends came over and we all had a mock Christmas (more on that later, after I get the pics). I’ve spent heartwarming time with family and friends. And, I’ve even almost baked Christmas cookies (more on that soon).

But, ever since that post, I’ve also been planning to write a post about every reason I love Christmas. I wanted to write something people might find powerful or touching. I wanted to write something that would rocket-propel me into the awesomeness of the holidays. I wanted to write something that would help me remember that Christmas isn’t about me at all. Because writing, you see, has always been able to heal me of whatever I am going through.

And so I sat down to write. But nothing came.

Days later, I sat down to write, and again nothing came.

Today, I sat down to write, and as I sat staring blankly at my screen yet again, it hit me like a truckload of chestnuts. I can’t write my way out of this one.

You see, every time I began typing, I was instantly flooded with the memories of my favorite parts of holidays past. It was never the gifts that meant the most to me. It was never the decorations or the food. It was never Santa Claus or the Christmas music. It was the things I’d do alongside the people I loved to truly serve others in their greatest times of need.

That’s what’s missing this year. I’ve had nobody to be my partner in crime while we plot out perfect and secret service projects. I’ve had nobody to ask “who can we go blow some money on who really needs it?” In fact, the only thing I’ve been a part of is a Sub for Santa, but it’s my family putting it together. Not me. I’m just handing over some gifts, and it’s just not the same.

So, I realized what I need to do. And I’m hoping that a few of you might join me by doing it in your own areas and then writing and telling me about it.

On Christmas day, I am going to drive down to the homeless district, armed with a couple hundred dollars or so worth of useful gift cards. Then, I’m going to hand them out to those who truly have something to worry about this holiday season. To make the day complete, I’m going to film my next installment of Single Dad Laughing’s Just Dance while I’m there, and I can promise you this. It’s going to be a really special one.

I know a couple hundred bucks is almost nothing. I know it won’t change the world or get anybody back on their feet. I wish I could take more. Maybe next year when I have an actual income coming in.

Small amount or not, it’s going to change my Christmas for the better. In fact, just in writing this it already has. I’m going to be dancing this Christmas. And I’m going to dance with some new friends if they’ll dance with me. If you have no idea what I’m talking about with the dancing, click here to watch our first dancing video.

Yes, I’m getting Christmas back.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS, I am serious. I’m really hoping some of you will go do something similar that day as well, or find some other way to spread awesomeness. If you do, please write to me and tell me about it.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely not doing this to toot my horn (if anything, I feel silly for offering such a small amount). I’ve always been a believer in secret service whenever possible. I’m just excited because I’ve spotted the missing puzzle piece for me this year, and let’s be honest. If I write that I’m going to do it, I won’t find a reason not to.

I’d love to hear your comments, even if anonymously. What is something special you like to do for others during the holidays (no matter which holiday you celebrate)? What makes you the most happy during this time of year (there are no wrong answers)? What was the nicest thing anybody’s ever done for you at Christmastime?

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162 comments
maraasah
maraasah

 My Name are Mara Asah, i want to use this great opportunity to express my heart felt appreciation to Dr Harrison who helped me bring back my ex husband. My husband left me because i was barren, he left me in the dark and said he has nothing to do with me any more, i cried all day and night because of the love i have for him.i contacted many spell casters to bring back my husband i never new they were scammers until my neighbor directed me to Dr who helped her secured her relationship, i never wanted to contact him until i decided to give him a chance and to my greatest surprise he casted a spell and in 3 days my husband return asking for forgiveness.Not only that Dr also helped me break the yoke of barrenness in my life and now am having 2 kids. i vowed to testify of him all thanks be to DR Harrison for his kindness and sincerity. for more information contact me via email m[email protected] but if you have similar problem please contact DR Harrison via email [email protected],

maraasah
maraasah

 My Name are Mara Asah, i want to use this great opportunity to express my heart felt appreciation to Dr Harrison who helped me bring back my ex husband. My husband left me because i was barren, he left me in the dark and said he has nothing to do with me any more, i cried all day and night because of the love i have for him.i contacted many spell casters to bring back my husband i never new they were scammers until my neighbor directed me to Dr who helped her secured her relationship, i never wanted to contact him until i decided to give him a chance and to my greatest surprise he casted a spell and in 3 days my husband return asking for forgiveness.Not only that Dr also helped me break the yoke of barrenness in my life and now am having 2 kids. i vowed to testify of him all thanks be to DR Harrison for his kindness and sincerity. for more information contact me via email m[email protected] but if you have similar problem please contact DR Harrison via email [email protected]

BidaStacey
BidaStacey

HOW MY EX LOVER CAME BACK WITH TEARS BEGGING FOR MARRIAGE      


Am Bida Stacey by name My ex-boyfriend dumped me 6 months ago after I accused him of seeing someone else and insulting him. I want him back in my life but he refuse to have any contact with me.I was so confuse and don't know what to do,a friend of mine introduce me to the Dr Harrison by giving me his email, i never believed untilI contact him and explain my problem to him and he cast a spell for me and assure me of 3 days that my ex will returnto me, and to my greatest surprise the third day my ex came knocking on my door and beg for forgiveness. for more information contact me on [email protected] I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that,we got MARRIED.all thanks to Dr Harrison. (seeing is believing) just put him to test and see his mighty power.  If you have a   similar problem please contact him on [email protected],

BidaStacey
BidaStacey

HOW MY EX LOVER CAME BACK WITH TEARS BEGGING FOR MARRIAGE      


Am Bida Stacey by name My ex-boyfriend dumped me 6 months ago after I accused him of seeing someone else and insulting him. I want him back in my life but he refuse to have any contact with me.I was so confuse and don't know what to do,a friend of mine introduce me to the Dr Harrison by giving me his email, i never believed untilI contact him and explain my problem to him and he cast a spell for me and assure me of 3 days that my ex will returnto me, and to my greatest surprise the third day my ex came knocking on my door and beg for forgiveness. for more information contact me on [email protected] I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that,we got MARRIED.all thanks to Dr Harrison. (seeing is believing) just put him to test and see his mighty power.  If you have a   similar problem please contact him on [email protected]

Ed
Ed

I only get my kids on Christmas Eve.  A friend told me about a tradition of pajama elves that bring kids pajamas on Christmas Eve.  I have been doing that and the kids like it and it makes my house special for them.  Here is a book about the tradition and is cute for the kids.  www.createspace.com/3953085#

Jess
Jess

Dan,

I understand where you are coming from in a way. This Christmas that just past was my first Christmas as a single (gasp) divorced Mom.  (I've read a few of your blogs, and like you mentioned in one, I cringe at the words divorce/divorced/divorcee.  They just make me feel like a loser).  But I digress.

I started out the Christmas season, much like you, not wanting to decorate, not wanting to shop.  Here I was a single Mom, and worse, I was unemployed.  At the all time consumer-led time of year! And to add to my down mood, it was my ex-husband's year to have Christmas with the kids, and I didn't even get to see them until 3 days after Christmas.  How on earth was I going to have a good holiday when I got the left over time with my kids and didn't have the money to spoil him like he did?

But you know what I learned this Christmas? Quite a lot.  That I am loved, even by complete strangers.  In the name of Santa, I received a Christmas card with a gift card to shop for my kids, in the name of Santa, I received a Christmas basket with a meal for my kids. And my hope was restored. I soldiered on. I started smiling, making homemade Thank You cards (I kept a stack in my car) and handing them out to EVERYONE. I learned to have faith in something greater than myself, and in the people around me.

Most importantly, I learned that Christmas didn't have to be about big, expensive presents or about the 25th of December.  We had our Christmas the evening the kids came home, neither they or I could wait to tear into the gifts.  They got some new clothes and most of the presents they asked for (THANK YOU SANTA!) And I got some of the best hugs ever.

What surprised me most about this lesson? I grew up poor and MY best Christmas as a child was the one that my parents were so poor that my biggest gift was a handmade rocking horse that my Dad built.  I still have that horse.  My kids use it now.

And I now know without a doubt that Christmas is a time for love, peace, hope and miracles.

Thank you for sharing your blog post about your struggles with your single Christmas, because I identified with it this Christmas, and it made me appreciate the help that I did receive so much more.

Dana
Dana

When I was growing up, we were poor. I mean, so poor that we got government cheese delivered to our front door every month. We got our clothes handmedown &/or from garage sales & Salvation Army. Six kids raised on less than $35,000/year... poor. One Xmas, when I was 12 or 13, my parents surprised me with a bed-in-a-bag. Nothing fancy, but everything matched! Until that point, I'd NEVER had matching bedding! THAT was my best Xmas ever. As an adult, I have always been uncomfortable getting gifts, but LOVE to watch reactions when I give. These days, my daughter (now 11yo) and I are BIG givers. Every year, we make cookies & deliver them to five or six random friends, pick a family to buy for (one of those Angel things from Salvation Army -- a reminder/paying-it-forward of my childhood) anonymously, and spend a lot of time planning & wrapping the PERFECT gifts for our loved ones.

Merry Xmas, Dan (and Noah); keep writing... THAT is a GREAT gift.

Patti B.
Patti B.

I wish I had a couple hundred dollars to give someone. I wish I had $10 to give. All I do have to give anyone is my time and my prayers.

I've been thinking about how to give of my time this weekend and have come up empty. I know it might be great if I could work at a soup kitchen or just go and offer some encouragement to others who are having a hard time. I won't be able to this year, and not because I can't. I'm sincerely afraid of what people around me will think if I just go off to a "bad" part of town, on my own (because I know I won't be able to find anyone to go with me), with just my time to offer. I wish I were there yet, but I'm not.

Thanks for giving me something to work toward.
My recent post If I Change My Name- Will You Still Call Me

GoddessM
GoddessM

Every holiday season I collaberate with other students at my college and we make blankets and buy books and games for the children staying at the battered women's shelter and the emergency youth shelter. I also serve holiday meals at the mission. When I go out to dinner I leave larger than usual tips. And while social networking and hanging out with friends, I am keeping my eyes open for someone in need. When I find the target I buy gifts and essentials for their family and anonymously deliver them. This year however, I have been unable to do these things and I feel awful. My father had a heart attack the first week of November and had open heart surgery. He lost his job and his insurance. I have been caring for him, paying his bills, feeding him, clothing him and managing everything in his life. I don't ever expect a thing in return, however thank you would be nice. Instead he treats me like Im the biggest turd on earth. I really miss the less fortunate folks I used to help. The love of complete strangers is far greater than any attempts he has ever made.

Liz
Liz

About 10 years ago, I was a very frazzled young mom at Walmart shopping with my 2 kids and my nephew (all under 5 yrs old) I took the three of them to get a drink from the fountain. A woman approached me ~ and gave me a $20 bill. She told me "I think you need this more than I do", then smiled, and walked away. I did get a chance to say thank you, but that was all.
I have never forgotten that moment. I just told my kids about it, again. How one person, doing something that maybe, wasn't much to them made a huge difference for us that year. It made a very tight Christmas a little easier & it really reminded me that good people are out there. It gave me hope, and when I see the bell ringers with their red buckets or am asked to help another - I remember what it is like to be on the other side, how much it improved my Christmas (and my life) because another was kind and generous.
Please know you are doing a good thing. Please know that you are making a real difference to those wonderful people who need a boost! You will be their Christmas miracle, just as that sweet woman was to me!

Charles
Charles

I am a Soldier so missing birthdays, holidays (even Major ones such as Christmas and Thanksgiving), and other special occasions is in my job description. Being alone never gets easier and I hope that all can find what they are looking for this Christmas, especially you. Keep it up Dan!! This Christmas will be what we all make it. As for your idea, I admire it. After all, "Where would this world be if we didn't help each other out every once in a while?"

allie
allie

christmas is exactly what we (as parents) make of it for our children- merry christmas!

Shawna
Shawna

My husband and I are short on money this year, so unfortunately the little we can do for our kids is all we can do. However, a very close family friend of ours found out on Dec 9th that she had pancreatic cancer. She underwent surgery on Dec 15th. She gets to come home today because she has recovered well. A friend of my husband and myself is doing better this year than most years and she went grocery shopping for this family. She delivered last night enough food for them to have a Christmas dinner and extra groceries to get them through. I appreciate what our friend did for somebody she barely knows :) That is the true meaning of Christmas

A. Marina Fournier
A. Marina Fournier

Our anniversary is on your kindness day, and I know two other couples from my college years who have the same anniversary, in different years.

Tuesday 21st Dec, I tipped someone who wasn't expecting it. Saturday, I paid event parking for the car behind me. I have thanked clerks at the Post Office for being so efficient at such a busy time. I thank people who clean the restrooms and other places I use/visit, and even compliment the folk who maintain the planters at the nearest strip mall for the wonderful job they do.

I did get to, a few months ago, let a store clerk know that her department was the first one I saw in the store each time, and that she did a great job. She did say to tell her boss, and I actually did find one of the owners (family run store) as I was about to check out, and told him what a wonderful job she (who was talking to him before I got there) did and how it made me feel on entering the store. I then proceeded to thank him for a number of things they carried. The way I went on, he may have thought me nuts, but feedback helps.

I want to leave the world better off than when I entered, that I make even little differences in people's lives.

I'm sorry that you lost Heller as early as you did. It does seem as if the world is going to be better for his influence, too.

SimplyStac
SimplyStac

You're Awesome. Have a great week.

Jess
Jess

I think your idea about giving the gift cards to the homeless is a great one! We have a gentleman in Kansas City that hands out money to people who need it every year... I can only imagine how useful these kinds of contributions are for everyone!

Happy Holidays!
http://www.kansascity.com/2010/12/16/2526090/secr...

Niki
Niki

The past 2 years I've successfully made it to the Festival of Trees (in Salt Lake City) at the beginning of December to help support Primary Children's Medical Center. This year, with a limited budget, I did what little I could and paid the ticket cost (for me and my husband) and bought a cute little decoration for my house. Sure it was only $20 worth of stuff, but I hope that will help a family get the care they need to get for their child, whether they have cancer or break a bone. This year has been a struggle for me to get into the holiday spirit because of the limited budget I have this year and have no decorations around the house, but it will be worth it next year!

Lisa G.
Lisa G.

You make me smile :)

Jenn
Jenn

My husband and I are very concerned about the people here in Seattle who have nothing. We keep bags of food (carbs, protein, fat, a treat, and two beverages) and incidentals in our car to hand to people on street corners. We've been doing it for years, and we've never been refused (everyone always uses the excuse that “they just want money for alcohol and drugs”). This Christmas we got a great deal on fleece blankets, so we're going downtown to hand out hugs and prayers as well as bags full of food, gloves, and blankets. We love these people, and know that they are our brothers and sisters in dire straits. We don't care how they got into the situation, what addictions they have, why they're homeless, or anything--they still need to be loved, and need the basics requirements of life.
I'm not trying to toot my own horn ,either--just wanted to let you know that there are others who share your mindset, and appreciate the challenge to do something really worthwhile for someone who really needs it.
I'll be thinking of you as we celebrate Christmas with the ones who bless us even more than we might bless them. There is something to be said about serving others and celebrating Christmas without borders. Something inside you changes more than the physical needs of those who receive what we have to offer, which, as you said, is meager at best. If we all did what we could, though, the world would be a better place.
P.S. You might be interested in the "Advent Conspiracy" at " target="_blank">www.adventconspiracy.org. Merry Christmas!

gt84604
gt84604

A couple of hundred dollars might not change the world, but the again, it might. The "little" things matter a lot! Even a passing comment can make a huge difference for somebody ( who might never tell you about it, and chances are you wouldn't remember making the comment anyway -- life's like that ;)

Helen
Helen

My most awesome Christmas Eve ever was the first one I spent alone after separating from my husband after 25 years. One of my son's took me to Harry Potter in the afternoon, then all of them went to spend the evening with their father. I decided I wanted to attend a Christmas Eve service, something my own church doesn't do. Unfortunately, I was having trouble finding a church that wasn't already in the middle of the service. Driving around I finally spotted one where people were going in not out, so I went inside. It was a Catholic church, something new to me. I sat quietly reading from the hymnal while the sanctuary filled up: when I looked up I realized I was almost the only Anglo in the room. The Mass turned out to be in Spanish and culturally very Hispanic. I didn't understand one word in 50 and didn't know what to expect, but the spirit of joyful worship and celebration was exactly what I needed that night. Their exuberant Silent Night at the close remains one of my cherished memories.

@jds0376
@jds0376

Okay, I have to confess. I am a long-time Christmas hater. But one thing I have noticed is how much more giving people have become during the holidays. I have been on a mission to develop a holiday routine that can make it special for me. I welcomed my first child into the world this fall, so now it's more important than ever. I'm glad you were able to find your Christmas spirit :)

@cammyjag
@cammyjag

This year my preschool did 2 things. First, everyone donated toys, clothes and food to a charity supporting over 600 needy families this year. We filled 2 huge boxes full of things. The parents really came through and donated some wonderful things.

Next, my preschool class of six 4 year-olds (we're a very small school) went to the extended care unit of the hospital to sing to the seniors. The students were understandably nervous walking into a room of alzheimer's/dementia patients, diabetic amputees and CVAs (stroke) in wheelchairs. But we got to singing, and everyone really loved them. I also had asked their parents to donate travel-sized toiletries such as lotions and powder, as well as socks. I only had 6 children, but we half-filled a 5-load laundry bag which I'd brought along to put everything in. We handed out individual bags that one parent had put together to those who were there, and to see the seniors' (and the children's) faces light up with smiles was AMAZING. We gave the rest directly to the staff to hand out to the rest, and they were so grateful for everything. The parents and the students couldn't stop talking about it for the rest of the week!

Loyal Reader
Loyal Reader

GOOD FOR YOU!!!!! I did a similar thing one Christmas about 15 years ago. To this day, I remember it as one of my favorite holidays in my entire [almost] 43 years. I was living outside DC at the time. A friend and I put together "goody bags" of various snacks, fruit, drinks, treats, etc. and drove to the city. Wherever we saw homeless people (and in DC you don't have to look far), we handed them a bag and said, "Merry Christmas". We went through the tourist areas and we went through the bad parts of town. The best holidays are always about GIVING.

The Gaelic Wife
The Gaelic Wife

I gave a waitress a $5 tip on a cup of hot tea last week. It was spontaneous and made me feel really good. And I bet it made her day too. That's not a holiday memory. Just a memory. Plain ol' everyday memory.

Jenn
Jenn

My husband and I are very concerned about the people here in Seattle who have nothing. We keep bags of food (carbs, protein, fat, a treat, and two beverages) and incidentals in our car to hand to people on street corners. We've been doing it for years, and we've never been refused (everyone always uses the excuse that “they just want money for alcohol and drugs”). This Christmas we got a great deal on fleece blankets, so we're going downtown to hand out hugs and prayers as well as bags full of food, gloves, and blankets. We love these people, and know that they are our brothers and sisters in dire straits. We don't care how they got into the situation, what addictions they have, why they're homeless, or anything--they still need to be loved, and need the basics requirements of life.
I'm not trying to toot my own horn ,either--just wanted to let you know that there are others who share your mindset, and appreciate the challenge to do something really worthwhile for someone who really needs it.
I'll be thinking of you as we celebrate Christmas with the ones who bless us even more than we might bless them. There is something to be said about serving others and celebrating Christmas without borders. Something inside you changes more than the physical needs of those who receive what we have to offer, which, as you said, is meager at best. If we all did what we could, though, the world would be a better place.
P.S. You might be interested in the "Advent Conspiracy" at " target="_blank">www.adventconspiracy.org. Merry Christmas!

qtpuh2tme
qtpuh2tme

I like to crochet baby blankets for the neo-natal unit at the nearby hospital. I also like to crochet hoodie-scarves for the deployed troops.

Jenn
Jenn

Sorry if this shows up multiple times--I can't see my own comment after a submit it...

Jenn
Jenn

A friend of mine is having a very hard time this Christmas. When she got a $200 electric bill, she was certain that her 4 children would have no presents this year at all. So, my husband and I got together what we could (which wasn't much... we only spent $60 total on our own 4 kids this year, and used the other $40 we had saved up for this) and bought her kids presents. We shipped them out with no return address, so that she had no idea where they came from.

Karma has it's advantages. The next day at work, a few of my husband's coworkers mysteriously left him a $100 bill and 2 bags full of wrapped presents for our own 4 children. We don't know who left them, or how many people were in on it. All I can say is that they.are.awesome. :)

Cheri
Cheri

I have, in my car at all times, gift cards to a local store where one can get all kinds of personal hygiene items as well as food. Then as I'm driving around and I see evidence of a homeless person's belongings "hidden" from the world, I pull over, sneak over there and tuck a card in their things. When they find it, they find a card for "Someone special" from "God's hands".

sarahcatlindupuy
sarahcatlindupuy

Last week, I noticed a mom at the grocery store in the line next to mine. She was buying food with WIC vouchers, and there was some problem with the date on it. She must have been standing there 20 minutes waiting for management to sort things out, all the while holding and rocking a baby who was increasingly upset while her 4- or 5-year-old son looked on. I quietly asked the cashier, who had stepped back to allow the manager to look at the register, how much the woman needed to cover her bill. It was not much. I quietly handed the cashier $20 bill, told her to give the woman the change, and left the store. I try to do at least one random favor for someone every day, whether it's letting them step in front of me in line, or paying for the coffee of the person behind me at the drive-through, or offering to help a young mother with a fussy baby, to picking up the lunch check of someone who looks like they could use some help. It really makes me feel good about my place in the world.

Meredith
Meredith

I love giving gifts. And I love givings gifts that I know my loved ones will love.

I would love to say that I don't care about getting gifts, but truth be told, if no one got me anything for Christmas, I'd be bummed. Even if it is just something small: a stuffed animal, a scarf, a card.

I think what you plan to do is wonderful. No matter how small, despite the cliche, it truly is the thought that counts. And being someone who is rather poor right now ... an extra $5 or $10 or $20 to spend would be SWEET. More powah to ya.

April
April

That's so awesome and generous!

My husband and I don't make much-- barely enough to cover the bills-- but when we talked about Christmas we knew we wanted to help someone, somehow. We decided that instead of buying stuff for each other this year (not that we ever do much), we would focus on our two boys, and a family in need in our town. We weren't sure how to help them though, as we wanted the money to actually be used on something they needed and not wasted or blown on "stuff". So, we bought almost $100 worth of groceries for a family that has no food. (I work in a school, and one of their children comes in hungry sometimes). Another teacher delivered it for us and kept it anonymous.

I wish we could do more. But that's what we could do and I hope they have a blessed Holiday season and pay it forward someday.

lovindmutts
lovindmutts

Years ago, when I was in... junior high? high school? I was rushing around, looking for a gift for my mom.. last one on the list, and I couldn't find anything that really struck me... Until I was rushing past some ceramic figurines in ShopKo. Among these figurines was a rather large(foot or foot and a half long?)Doberman. It was lying down, ears up, front paws out front with a bone between them. When I saw this Doberman, I thought, "Ah!!! that's it!" Growing up, my mom had a Doberman Pincer.... ;-)

Of course, I got it, wrapped it, and rode home with my parents, my treasure on my lap. Christmas morning, we opened gifts. We usually do them one at a time, the fun lasts longer that way! This gift came to my mom, and as she opened it, she started to cry... That's my goal every year- get a gift that really hits the spot.

Sadly, this year was pretty impossible- my brother and his wife live across the country. He moved there about 8 or 10 yrs ago, and I've met her once :( Ah, well, maybe next year.

My exhusband and I had a tradition that we'd take a name from an angel tree and get Christmas for that person. Christmas 2008, we picked a name from a tree done by a local nursing home. We got the gifts at my work (yay for employee discount!), but ran into a snag getting them wrapped- Big Bro/Big Sis was doing a fund-raiser/gift wrap booth at the mall. They had a 2-hour backlog, so I offered to help. I think they didn't think I was serious b/c as I went behind their table and shed my coat, I got a couple double-takes :D I love wrapping gifts!! When my exhusband came back from what he'd gone to do, he also joined in helping out. It was one of the most fun things I've done at Christmas time.

Serena
Serena

To those who have little, even the smallest amount means the world. My son received a new winter coat through his school, and a toy for his little brother and him to share, and I had to blink away tears when they were given to me to put under our tree. My family doesn't have tons of money to spend at christmas, and to have someone give my kids a gift, made me feel that we meant something to them.
Your cards - no matter the amount will be special to the people you gave them to, not because of what they can get - but because you took the time to think of them!

PM- Single Mom
PM- Single Mom

It's definitely hard during the holidays. I'm getting in the spirit by getting myself something I've always wanted. We can't forget to take care of ourselves as much as others during the holidays. We deserve it too!

Siege
Siege

This year is a very hard Christmas for me as well. I left my abuse husband of 12 1/2 years in August. I have had a hard time trying to get myself into the Christmas spirit. I never was much of a Christmas person before, but I enjoyed giving.

This year has been especially hard because my soon to be ex is refusing to support his three children. I have 3 part time jobs just to pay the bills and even then I am not making it. I was very worried about this already hard situation being made worse for my boys with no Christmas.

I have been blessed many times over in just the last week alone. Someone anonymously gave me a bunch of cash to use on whatever I needed. (I'm saving it, as I have already had a few major vehicle breakdowns and ran out of fuel oil for heating. You never know if these will happen again.) Someone else has a business selling books and allowed me to choose two books per boy. Another person anonymously gave me gifts for the boys. Then I heard that Salvation Army had a program where the boys could get a few gifts. They called yesterday that the stuff was in. I went, expecting 2 or 3 gifts per child. There were two large black garbage bags FULL to overflowing of gifts for them and even 6 for me! I was just so overwhelmed and shocked. I even got a gift card to the grocery store!

All this to say, it may not seem like much to you, but it is a lot to those on the other end. I had a terribly down week this last week. Wondering if and how I would ever make it. Things look so dark at times. But then, just when we need it the most, we find that there are some decent people in the world. There are those who care. Thank you to all of you who care. CJ

Craig Wesson
Craig Wesson

Dan, your article made me realize MY missing piece of the Christmas puzzle. I lost it about 6 years ago. You have no idea how you have touched me. I will do basically the same thing as you this Christmas Eve. I do, indeed, practice random acts of kindness throughout the year, but Christmas has been quite different for the past several years. I get caught up in 'seasonal melancholy'. You have helped me more than you could possibly know this Christmas season.
M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S ! ! ! !
Craig W.

Carrie Shack
Carrie Shack

I want to share something with you because it really turned my Christmas around this year. In Oct. 2007 a dear friend of mine was killed in Iraq when a road side bomb detonated near his vehicle. This young man was a very special person, you know the kind that you know could save the world had he lived long enough. It has been hard for all of us who knew him. He died shy of his 27th birthday and was close to the end of his deployment. He left a wonderful wife and 3 beautiful kids.
Today, I received a Christmas card from his wife, whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know via Facebook. The card contained a picture of the kids (including her newest angel), a memorial program from his funeral, and one of the name patches that he wore in Iraq. Honestly, I am still crying. It really brought everything in to perspective for me. What was I thinking? I have the right to be a humbug because of people like him and the families of soldiers who sacrifice. That doesn't make it right.
I honestly got a kick in the teeth and a helping hand out of the dumps all in one envelope today.

lynsey
lynsey

What was the nicest thing anybody's ever done for you at Christmastime?

Creating those traditions! I never realized how much work it is to have the energy to do all that stuff, make it fun and great, as well as be good at life outside of the holidays. I so appreciate my parents for always making the holidays wonderful and special and splendid and NEVER letting us know it was work for them. Also, my dad has made sure he can get my grandparents here for my grampy’s last Christmas this year....so I am thankful he is willing to do that for me and my sister and my mom, it means a lot to us and to my grandparents that they are able to come, despite the challenges this year. <>

lynsey
lynsey

What makes you the most happy during this time of year (there are no wrong answers)?

I love picking out presents for people, it is way more fun than making my own list. I love to spoil people. I love how everyone is so happy and loving this time of year, I wish we had the Christmas spirit all year round. I love watching the wonder in my kids’ eyes at something small like Christmas lights. I LOVE creating those traditions they will continue to love - giving and shopping, gingerbread houses, decorating cookies, advent candles at church, caroling. <>

lynsey
lynsey

What is something special you like to do for others during the holidays (no matter which holiday you celebrate)? We do a couple things. Normally I let the girls each pick an angel off the angel tree for foster kids or the women’s and family shelter. But I couldn’t find any this year, they were all picked over right away! We clean out the toy boxes and closets and get a few big garbage bags full of toys and clothes we don’t need anymore and give them to shelters, Goodwill or Toys for Tots. They each pick out a toy or 2 at the toy store to give to toys for tots too. If I know of someone that is having a hard time but not necessarily in a shelter or anything, I try to do something to help out....last year and this year I sent some friends a $100 gift card to the grocery store in a card that just said Merry Christmas and nothing else. We try to do a service project with church too. <>

Mandy
Mandy

As for something that has been done for us . . . two Christmases ago, while attending a Christmas Eve service at our church. A couple that we knew, but were not extremely close to, gave us a Christmas card. I accepted it and said thank you. It wasn't until we got into the car to leave, that I opened the card. And my husband said "is that what I think it is?" Inside, wa s a $100 bill for no reason, but such a blessing!!!

Mandy
Mandy

In our monthly "budget committee meeting" this month, before we determined how much money we would have to spend on gifts, we set aside $101 for our church's special holiday giving which will provide Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and gifts to a family in our community. We also took three tags off of a Christmas tree to buy gifts for needy children. We took our 4 year old daughter with us to pick out the gifts and explained to her that there are many kids that don't get to have a Christmas and don't have any toys. Every year we have done this and it is something that is very important to us. Finances for our family are no where near what we would have them be, but putting others above ourselves does help to make the holidays brighter.

Becky
Becky

So here's an honest question......

Do you have any pictures of yourself with a genuine (or even half-faked) smile? In my (39 years) experience I find that folks who goof for the camera are often self-conscious.

No offense meant. Just a question.

You are a good-looking guy. To make the most of your pictures, lift your chin and look straight into the camera. Your son will appreciate the photos as keepsakes of his Dad.

Not meant to call you out. But your pics make you look like a goofball whereas your writing shows a different person.

Misty
Misty

Dan -
I hear you with the holiday blues.. All you need is your son, family, and friends. After loosing my father 16 years ago my holidays have never been the same, So this year instead of crying my way threw it I will light a candle, and LAUGH, SMILE and remember all the great things. You truly are a great man to donate even a couple hundred dollars because a little bit of love goes a long ways. My god bless you and Noah and the rest of your family.

kris
kris

single for the first time as well, actually ever, since i married my high school sweetheard and am currently going throug a divorce...i guess for me it was fortunate that my ex cared nothing about holidays, any holiday, so i have always done everything, shopping/wrapping/cooking/baking, absolutely everything, usually with no presents in return, so for the first time ever i am having a christmas without the 'always there' resentment towards my ex for always having to do everything...but i look forward to a christmas when i have someone in my life to share it with, i am 35 and have yet to have that experience...good things to come...

Ms. MM
Ms. MM

Praying for you and your kids. :) Hope you have a good Christmas!

Siege
Siege

Thank you so very much.