On Christmas Eve my husband and I placed $50 grocery store gift cards into holiday cards, loaded my son into the back of our car and drove to two nearby fire stations to deliver them. At both stations we were welcomed in by friendly volunteer firemen who were elated to receive an unexpected Christmas gift.
My son is too young now to understand the value of our gifts, but I believe we may have found a new Christmas tradition. As he gets older we can explain that these men and women volunteer their time to keep us safe. In light of all of the negative things in the world I want my son to know that there is a lot of good on this earth. The fact that people are willing to step into burning buildings to protect total strangers has always astounded me. I want my son to remember that in light of troubled times there are everyday heroes who walk among us.
Of all the Christmas gifts I purchased and wrapped this year, these gifts cards were by far my favorite. Isn’t it funny how a gift to a stranger meant more to me than all the gifts I wrapped for loved ones? It’s not that I don’t love my family. I definitely do. It’s just that this gift seemed extra special, because it was so unexpected by the people who received it.
I would like to continue this tradition for years to come. While we will probably provide a gift for the firehouses each year I would also like to think of other unexpected ways to give. As my son gets older I hope that he can join in on the fun. Maybe we can pay for groceries for someone in line or provide an extra large tip to a friendly waiter or waitress. Maybe he’ll want to provide a gift for his school bus driver or for the woman who reads stories at the library. The key is to spread a little holiday joy for someone who isn’t expecting it.
Have you ever provided a gift to someone who wasn’t expecting it? If so, what did you give?