Tag Archives: giving

I still believe in Santa

pollyanna-5I read recently of a idea for parents where, when your child is starting to wonder about “things”, you take them out for a special time all by themselves and tell them Santa is about giving and now that they were grown up enough, they could be part of the giving, be a part of Santa. Then help them pick out a present for someone  (a neighbour or a sibling’s friend or whatever) and help them give it to that person.

I like the idea. I wish I’d thought of it. Somehow my kids have all figured out that the joy is in the giving, not necessarily the receiving (years of lame presents (socks, underwear) help this learning), but we didn’t have a tradition about it.

And I’m still wearing the blame for lying to them about Santa and the Easter Bunny and tooth fairies and so forth.

images-2I’m not hugely religious anymore – more spiritual, I’d say, with weird blobs of belief in various directions. But somehow (though it’s getting harder these days), I’ve always believed in the innate goodness of people, that somewhere in the depths of the most ignorant reprobate (#realDonaldTrump) there is a tiny flickering candle of goodness or kindness or hope.

I feel like a Pollyanna when I say it, but I can’t help but cling to that belief. Otherwise, where would we be?

Well, probably right where we are now…(sigh), but I have hope still that people will figure out a way to do good, to help each other, to choose the unselfish route. To favour giving over receiving.

Like Santa.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this giving more times than I can count, and I feel so fortunate to have friends around who care about me. It’s lovely. I try to pass on their goodness to others, to share it around. I’m not always good at it, but it’s one of those things I am always trying.

So I know we’re all overspent and overfed and all that, but maybe we could take time to give to someone else, someone we don’t know, that cold guy out on the street, the food banks, the shelters. I’d give for Syria, but I have honestly no idea who to trust to be the giver for me. I’ll be making my donation to Feed Nova Scotia. They share the goodness all over the province, and I know they’ll be low after providing Christmas meals to everyone.


As Tiny Tim would say, “God bless us, every one!”, or as I prefer, “We help each other, every one!”

Happy Christmas and Merry Hanukkah and Blessed New Year (with no mistakes in it, as Anne of Green Gables would say)! Let’s channel our internal Pollyannas and dig in for the oncoming trials.

Being hopeful doesn’t mean you have to give up fighting for others…

Lagniappes and other wonderful things

Every once and awhile, a lovely word drops into my life and makes it infinitely richer. I love language. I’ve been grooving on Schadenfreude and other Germanic terms for yonks now and I feel in need of a change. And today, it dropped into my life through a read review on Goodreads.

Lagniappes. To give a little extra. A gift. The thirteenth muffin in a Baker’s Dozen. (Strangely it is a Friday the 13th tomorrow but I like Friday the 13ths as my daughter was born that day and it was truly one of the happiest days of my life).

I love this term. I think it resonates for me because my life is full of these things. The little extra joy. I’ve been oddly blessed with them, from strange fellow bus riders to the feel of my son’s shoulders shaking as we both smothered laughs at the theatre to the red leaf spotted on a yet-green maple to the sound of water rushing down my ravine at night when all is silent. I try to pass them on, a kind word here, a touch there, but I’m of course not as good at it as I should be.  Perhaps I should get “yapay” as my tattoo…?

Sending thanks to those who have sent me these little gifts, in all your ways. They mean so much.

And goshens, I’ve got to study Creole. Or get back to Spanish. Richness abounds.

Regional Note: Lagniappe derives from New World Spanish la ñapa, “the gift,” and ultimately from Quechua yapay, “to give more.” The word came into the rich Creole dialect mixture of New Orleans and there acquired a French spelling. It is still used in the Gulf states, especially southern Louisiana, to denote a little bonus that a friendly shopkeeper might add to a purchase. By extension, it may mean “an extra or unexpected gift or benefit.”