Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Joy of Giving, Exchanging Goodwill and the Holiday Season

Its been almost a month since my last Thanksgiving blog and it appears as though my blogging happens only during the holiday time and not earlier, simply because, life has been more busy and I haven't been in the mood to blog.

Well, its that time of the year when wreaths made from artificial mistletoe, carols about holly, ivy and reindeer, bright-colored stockings are all hung up as decorations- all these have become an integral part of Christmas and holiday celebrations at work and outside. Yes, I am referring to my work place, a totally white dominated office where the spirit of giving and the holiday season have started to cheer the atmosphere around me.

I am not a Christian and neither have I yet started celebrating Christmas at home bu putting up a tree etc., but I definitely enjoy exchanging goodwill with friends and colleagues during this time of the year.

Being in a University, we are closed for the next week starting 12/23-1/2 and these last few days in the office have been good. First of all, work is slow at this time of the year and it is great time to catch up on organizing and cleaning the office and making plans for the new year. Secondly, attending other department XMas parties, lunches at nice restaurants with a group of colleagues followed by "white-elephant" gift exchange games make it seem so realistic. I haven't felt the same during Diwali time here in the US, not that the Sun TV programs and temple visits make me only feel more nostalgic. But, the nice thing about the holiday season and approach of XMas is that I don't feel left out. I too go shopping to buy gifts for friends and colleagues who shower their holiday spirit on me by giving me home made baked goodies, stockings filled with candies and a lot more other XMas gifts.

I am learning a lot about reciprocating gifts this year. "Gifting is an art" and I think it should be done with a lot of elan and class. Wrapping and packaging of the gits with the most innovative of holiday paper and bags make so much of a difference and is thoroughly appreciated.

Last, but not the least, the joy of giving is not only exchanging gifts at work, but also practicing some charity during this time of the year. This year, I participated in a Holiday Toy Drive for homeless kids and managed to collect some toys from work that I passed on to the Urban Ministry department who organize the toy drive. I find lots of colleagues and friends (sadly, not Indians) who contribute a portion of their income to the Red Cross or do something to help the less fortunate folks.

An older colleague of mine who has no living family members says that the joy of giving is deep and rewarding and works wonders on a person's psyche. She says that when distraught with tension and worry, a little help to somebody in need can be a great stress buster and an anti-depressant.

With all the sales happening in stores around us, being caught up with our hectic lifestyles, passions and interests, we never pause to reflect on the misery of those in dire need. Well, not to go on to the point of sounding monotonous, it is a good idea to start thinking about doing something small for a person in need during this holiday season.

Merry Christmas to those celebrating and Happy Holidays for the others. More frequent blogging to follow.....