12 Ways to Maintain the Christmas Spirit AFTER Christmas (5)

Over the holiday season, a few bloggers and I discussed how easily people slip into the “giving” spirit when mid-November rolls around. And then *poof* Just like that, people tend to slip right out of it when January appears. It got me thinking. How can we maintain this energy year-round?

Initially, I’d planned to “experiment” with different ways and then write this at the end of the year. But I figured some people might want to try with me, so instead, I’ll update and re-blog the post every four weeks.

By June, I’d forgotten to formally give in some systematic way. However, I’m happy to report that I was still service-minded…it was just more natural.

dreams_nashvilleMy goddaughter and I traveled to Nashville the second week in June. There, we hung out on Broad Street with a friend of mine who we’d visited. I’d noticed the homeless population almost immediately and the busyness of the area allowed me to take some candid shots. Well, one man wouldn’t let me take a photo, unless I gave him some money. How much was up to me. I paid $2.00 for a shot of his sign. This, however, isn’t it lol I must’ve deleted it. But this is representative of the types of signs we saw that day.

transient_8A couple days later, we rented a car and drove to Memphis to visit my cousin. Here, people party on the infamous Beale Street. The evening wore into morning and clubs began to close. People began to filter back into the street. This is when I met a guy in a wheelchair. He explained to me that it cost $7.00 to enter one of the Memphis shelters. He had one dollar, so I gave him six more. And just as I’ve written before, I didn’t worry about if he actually used the money for housing; that’s none of my business.

Later that morning, my cousin had a breakdown where she revealed her disappointment in our relationship. She’d been suppressing these feelings for a few years. From what I could tell, she wanted more of my money, time, and affection, seemingly in that order. A former part of me would have dug deep and matched her hurt feelings with my own. But I’ve lived long enough to know that doesn’t help. Instead, I hugged her and listened. Later that day, I maintained my own silence and thoughts. Don’t get me wrong. I was mad; however, I chose not to allow my anger to drown out her opinion. Furthermore, when we went to lunch, I also chose to pay for her meal as an act of kindness.

The lesson I learned for Christmas in June is that sometimes it’s good to just go with the flow and give when necessary or as you can. Additionally, I’ve learned to give without worry. Many times I’ve not wanted to give to the homeless because I might need that $2 or I don’t want to pay for someone’s food because I’ve already paid for the last five meals when we were together. But in a way, that’s the opposite of an abundant mindset. Giving this year has shown me that I always have enough. I have so much that I can give time, money and resources freely without stress. Isn’t that a wonderful thought?

To read about how I’ve maintained the Christmas spirit January through May, read here.

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24 thoughts on “12 Ways to Maintain the Christmas Spirit AFTER Christmas (5)

  1. Why would she want your money? Doesn’t she work? You are a wife, mother, business woman, educator, writer and how many other titles do you wear? You are better than me. You need to put this in a self-help book for women like me because I would have been offended.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just can’t with your cousin. LOL!!!! Apparently you can’t either.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like being appreciated but I can’t deal with needy people.
    I’m not talking about people who have legit needs, I mean emotional vampires.
    I simply CANNOT!
    How you doing Doc? LOL!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I take chances giving dollars to the needy all the time, what they do with them is their business. With larger amounts, I like to be sure… instead of giving a person a hundred dollars for a past due electric bill or to buy groceries, I might pay the electric company directly, in their name or deliver a big box of non-perishables to their porch. I admire your poise in the situation with your cousin, although her wanting more of your money (in addition to time and affection) struck me as odd. I have noticed that giving a friend or family member money when they wheedle it out of you just sends them right back to your door when they’re running short. They never pay it back. And even if you’ve helped them twenty times, they’ll turn on you the first time you say NO. Might as well just put your foot down early and take the heat for it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tend to agree Joan. I mean, what does it matter what they do with $2.00? I have had family members ask me to send money, and much of the time, if I have it I send it. I’ve found that if I send one time, then they never ask for a second or third time.

      The cousin situation has definitely been personal growth in the making. A few years ago, this story would’ve ended much differently lol So I’m grateful for strides.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. More times than not, a homeless person will take the money and buy alcohol. and as I think about it, if I lived on the streets I’d need alcohol too. As with your cousin, sometimes it’s best to take the high road and keep Christmas all year long.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I can understand your cousin wanting more of your time and affection because that makes me feel as if she values you and enjoys your company. Wanting more of your money makes a mockery of the other two. I might be wrong and somewhat judgemental, but it seems that she doesn’t value you very much and one of the ways she might feel ‘closer’ to your money is by being closer to you – if you get my drift. That’s so sad – no wonder you were ‘mad’.
    I’m not sure I would’ve handled the situation in the same way as you did. You came across as wanting to understand her position to the detriment of your own valid feelings. I hope your kindness gave her the opportunity to see how thoroughly unpleasant her attitude was toward you, but I have a feeling that it might only have re-enforced her feeling of entitlement. We are all made up so differently and I wonder what it is in her that makes her feel justified in her behaviour – somewhere along the line, perhaps someone made her feel that she wasn’t appreciated enough and as a result these inadequate feelings have led to crossed-wires about appreciating others – maybe?
    On the other hand you clearly have the good grace, despite what has happened to you, to learn from life lessons and to rise above what could have ended in a very different scenario.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bingo! That’s what I decided (after mulling about it for several weeks). She really doesn’t want my time and affection. She wants something deeper that she lacked and that I cannot provide.

      I see what you’re saying about wanting to understand her position, but it wasn’t to the detriment of my feelings, for sure. I was able to vent and make sense of things with my goddaughter, actually. Over the past few years, I’ve learned how to keep my mouth shut when these event occur. It’s not in a I feel voiceless kind of way, but moreso, I hear you and I need to process and separate your feelings from mine kind of way…if that makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wonderful that you were able to ‘vent’ and make sense of things – I’m glad I got that bit wrong.:)
        …makes perfect sense. I tend to sit quietly with thoughts now before I make a decision which way to go. It took a while before I learned to do this though …it’s the best way. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Compassion, goodwill, and human decency shouldn’t be demonstrated solely based on a designated holiday season. The “season” for giving and sharing does best when it encompasses all four seasons, all the time. Thank you for helping to make the world a better place! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The part about your cousin makes me again think of the quote ‘I give up my right to hurt you for hurting me…’ Letting go of expectations, it seems to be the theme lately…But I have to be honest, I also think of ‘I am good, but no fool’… Paying for the meal, instead of giving the money, seems to me to right choice you made 😉
    XxX

    Liked by 3 people

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