I’m normally a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. I’m generally somewhat slow to anger, then it flares, then it generally passes quickly. Some of that may be a result of being a people pleaser, I’m not entirely sure.
Anyways, that’s just to say that it’s not like I’m sitting around mopey, staring at my belly button or anything. I’ve got decorations up, shopping done and I’m looking forward to Christmas day and seeing my son open his presents.
But Christmas has lost some of its “magic”. I think this is normal for adults. Sure you can focus on the religious aspect and be humbled by it, but it’s also easy to see the money flying out of your checking account with every gift, to get cranky by long lines in stores and to flip someone off because they cut you off in the parking lot. You know Santa isn’t real and you know that most gifts aren’t going to leave a lasting impression on you.
I had travel plans for the holiday that fell through at the last minute. I’m scrambling to make some new ones in order to take advantage of having the week between Christmas and New Years off, but I was a little bummed by the change in plans. I was laying in bed Saturday morning, totally planning on being a bum and staying inside and catching up on binge watching TV shows and napping. My son was at his mom’s house and nobody was expecting anything from me. Normally that’s my definition of a perfect weekend.
As I was laying in bed, I grabbed my phone and started checking social media. On FB a friend of a friend was posting about their issues. We’d been dumped on the night before and her little car couldn’t handle the snow and got stuck right outside her house. She was sick and couldn’t make it to the drugstore. I drive a jeep and I enjoy being a little kid and laughing when I go driving in the snow. So I bundled up and headed out in the 5 degree (F) to get her meds. She’s a single mom who is trying to do right by her kids and is struggling financially. So on the way I stopped and got iTunes gift cards for her daughters, a Target gift card for her for when times are tough and take-out for lunch.
While I was driving around town a former co-worker who moved out of state called me. Her son was flying into town to visit friends and she was worried about the weather. He’s in the Army and still considers Denver home, even though she moved away. His friends are cops and got called in to help deal with all the snow so he didn’t have a ride. She was tempted to have him take an Uber or the bus. I offered to pick him up but she said no, she didn’t want to impose.
After I dropped off the meds and food and Christmas presents to the friend-of-a-friend my former worker texted and asked if I’d still be willing to pick up her son. I was on the same side of town as the airport, he needed to go back towards my house so it was easy. I wandered around shopping for a couple hours then picked him up. He was a great kid and it was fun to spend a 45 minute drive talking Army with him, and just hearing how excited he was to see friends and flirt with girls.
Sunday started about the same. A friend called and asked if I wanted to meet them for brunch and to go see the Costumes of Star Wars exhibit @ the Denver Art Museum. As I was getting ready and checking social media, single mom was on FB again. Friends were offering to help but I sent her a message saying that if she needed anything else I’d be near her later and I’d check in with her before I went home. After going to the museum and saying good bye to my friend I called her. Her showers weren’t draining in her brand-new home. So I ran by home depot, picked up a disposable snake to pull hair out of the drains and some drain-o and got her and her kids dinner. Got her squared away and went home.
Short story made really, really long? It was a super fun weekend. I loved being able to bounce around and help people with no expectations of anything in return. It really made me feel like Santa to be driving around in the snow. And it was great to see people really grateful, not that I was doing it for gratitude, but compared to giving a co-worker a gift that you both know is lame and the false enthusiasm from it. I think I was actually singing or whistling Christmas carols everywhere I went.