There is a special kind of spirit and line of thinking that I see around the holidays, especially near Christmas. No, not the rough and tumble freaking-out people do to scatter to buy as much as they can. I'm talking about the kind and giving spirit. Sadly, it is rarely seen outside the holidays, but when I see it, it simply warms up my day. To experience that spirit, especially on the giving end, is a feeling that transcends words of any kind. Short of any phrase or word that gives it proper justice, it simply feels ... good. Oftentimes people think they are too busy or too poor to help out, but remember that it really is the thought that counts. When was the last time you looked directly into someone's eyes and gave them a genuine smile? As small a gesture as it is, even that can make someone's day much brighter. If you have been blessed with a surplus of food, it would be great to share it to someone who needs it. This holiday season, specifically the last two days, I have seen and felt such raw emotion is was simply wonderful. Yesterday I went to visit my step-grandmother for a simple visit and to wish her a merry Christmas. Because I haven't been in town for years, it has been a long time since I've seen her, but I recently moved back into town. This year is especially hard on her because it is the first year since her husband died. She related a few stories for me about them, and it just ... it touched me for how much they loved (and still do) each other other. The look in her eyes and the emotion in her words made it easy to tell how true their love is. One of the stories she told me was so awe-inspiring (yet simple) that it is the basis for one of the stories I am currently writing. Their love is so strong, even after death, that it made me happy because I could feel it. The second event was just today. We had various family members come and visit briefly today, and because of this we had a multitude of snacks and drinks. After they all left we had a bunch leftover and absolutely no idea what to do with it all. Several minutes of thought went by then we had an idea ... About two or three miles down the street is a homeless guy and his dog we always see who is always asking for work. We made up our minds! Gathering up as much leftovers as we could find (two bags worth of various food and drink then a small baggie containing dog treats and a toy), we went down the road to find this man. Just by looking at him you could tell that he has seen quite a few years of hard times. He was thrilled to see us and as much as he was thankful we brought him a large sum of edibles, he loved our company. For at least 90 minutes we stood there and talked to get to know him. Turns out his name is Paul, a man from New Mexico. He used to own a small shop, but after the majority of his stuff getting stolen one night, he lost everything and since then has been travelling with no place to call home. Funny, charming, and honest, this man was a welcome breath of fresh air. He was so happy and merry, that it was hard to tell he was down on his luck, but a person was quickly reminded by his appearance. We learned quite a lot about him, specifically that he tries to enjoy everything in life, no matter where you find yourself. He likes to see various strange hats and his favorite Christmas song is "Grandma Got Run-over by a Reindeer". Now this I found amusing, for just last week my step-father happened to be in a gift exchange. The item he got was a thick wool hunter's hat with cameo pattern, ear warmers, and reindeer antlers for decoration. Pressing a button on the hat made it light up and sing the song "Grandma Got Run-over by a Reindeer". Getting home, we immediately grabbed the hat and drove back to the man to give him the hat. He laughed with such genuine amusement as he took off worn-out cap and planted the new singing hat on his head. After about an hour more of conversation, we finally went home. I suppose my ranting is near it's end, but please keep in mind the real spirit of the holidays ... No matter how big or small it may seem, do your best to show kindness. And please, don't restrict such behavior to simply the holidays! Every day try your best to truly be thankful for what you have ... it may be a little and it may be a lot, but either way be thankful. Merry Christmas Happy New Year And may the rest of your days be filled with genuine happiness.