We’re heading into the busy season up here at the North Pole. I’ve been making my list and checking it twice, and you’d better believe that I’ve found out who’s been naughty and who’s been nice! My workshop has been buzzing with the elves working hard at making toys, taking care of the reindeer, baking cookies, and helping me prepare my sleigh. The reindeer are just as excited, if not more so. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen – and of course, we can’t forget Rudolph – have been eagerly awaiting the night that they get to gear up to fly my sleigh across the globe. Mrs. Claus told me that the reindeer have taken up extra cardio training to ensure that they’ll be faster this year than ever before!
I know many of you are looking forward to opening the presents I will leave under the tree for you, but I want to remind you that many of life’s most precious gifts don’t come wrapped in red and green paper and topped with a sparkly bow. The most important gifts are ones that you give and receive on a daily basis (and they also help land you on the nice list!). We’re talking about the gifts of good behavior, thoughtful actions, and words of kindness!
Good behavior starts with treating others the way you would like to be treated. This gift is particularly important in social settings where potential conflict and disagreements can arise, such as work and school. Rather than reacting with anger, take the opportunity to listen and learn. When we treat others with compassion and empathy, we end up feeling better too. Thoughtful actions can take many different forms. You can share something special with those you love, offer to help someone in their time of need, or stick up for someone who is being treated poorly. But thoughtful actions don’t necessarily have to be big or grandiose. They can be as simple as opening the door for someone, sending someone a handwritten note, or offering to cook a friend’s favorite meal.
Perhaps the most meaningful gift of all is kindness. Being kind or doing a good deed is never expected and always appreciated. We can be kind in many ways, no matter how young or old we are. Smile at a stranger, compliment someone in a meaningful way, or offer to shovel your neighbor’s driveway. No good deed goes unnoticed, and more often than not, making other people feel good makes us feel good too.
Before you snuggle up in bed on Christmas Eve, please remember to leave out some snacks for my reindeer and me – we get hungry flying all over the globe! And while you’re opening up your gifts on Christmas morning, remember that many of our most precious gifts are things that you can’t wrapped and put under the tree. I already know if you’ve been bad or good, so continue to be good for goodness sake!