We have a naked tree this year. It's not totally bare as it has lights but sadly, no ornaments. Why? Because I simply don't have time to decorate it and no one else will so there it sits in the dining room. I've even told all the people who live with me that I'm not doing it. Since no one else is taking the initiative, it will stay naked this year.
I've had a love/hate relationship with the holidays for eight years. It started the year my Aunt Dee, Uncle Bill and Aunt Rhoda died. I thought I was getting over it a couple of years ago but we wound up being in the hospital the five days leading up to Christmas. Last year, we spent Christmas Eve in the emergency room and got home at three in the morning. Spending the holiday season in the hospital dramatically shifts your feelings about the holiday season. While everyone is worried about balancing their schedules and buying the perfect gift, we're worried about spitting up blood and getting home to be in our own beds. Gives you a whole new perspective.
When the holidays no longer become about you, they take on a completely different meaning. I think that's why my teenager has consistently given to others every single year. This year, she collected toys and crafts for our local children's hospital. She knows how boring and lonely it can be when you're stuck in a hospital room and that there's not much for the teens to do so she wanted to give to others. Yesterday, we dropped off over $1,000 of incredible stuff to the hospital to be given to the Child Life department. It was a great feeling.
You see, this is what the holiday season is all about. It's not about stuff. It's about the ability to empathize with others, put yourself in their shoes and then give back. Rosie knows all too well what it's like to be bored while tethered to an IV pole. If there's any way she can alleviate that for someone else, she will. It's an incredible quality that will serve her well in adulthood.
In this last stretch before the holidays, I challenge all of you to do something wonderful and unexpected for someone else. Stop rushing around worrying about buying the last gift and having the perfect meal. The holidays are about giving to others and even a naked tree can't change that.