I came across an article this weekend about a "mystery couple" in Philadelphia who walked into a restaurant, ate their meal, and quietly gave their waitress enough money to pay for another random couple's meal. This in turn set off a chain reaction of giving, as other diners began to pay it forward. Although it really didn't cost much to inspire a random act of generosity, the results were so profound that a national news organization like MSNBC picked up the story.
Another aspect of giving that has been prominent in the news this year is the fact that charities across the nation have experienced a drop in donations and giving. Although you may not have the extra money to donate this year, it may be as easy as giving a few cans of food or donating your time in a soup kitchen. I was particularly interested to read about Lanny Green, who rings the bell for Salvation Army in Arlington, Va. - and is homeless himself. The Salvation Army pays him a small hourly wage, but he "gets it" - he knows this job gives him a chance to help himself AND help someone else.
This year, everyone is trying to make Christmas special on a low budget. As you rush to and from the mall, remember to take a moment to give of your time, your resources, your expertise, or just showing a bit more patience than usual with long lines and overwhelmed cashiers. Happy Holidays!