Yesterday, I was feeling a real lack of Christmas spirit in my city, but I had a change of heart by the time I reached my parent’s home, which is about an hour north of where I live. I made a stop at a grocery store in town. My parents live way out in the country, where you can’t see your hand in front of your face after dark. Town is about 20 minutes away without traffic. You’d never think this place is right outside of Atlanta. It’s a world unto itself.
It was raining hard. In fact, it was already flooding in some areas. I really didn’t want to stop, but I needed to get a few things. As soon as I walked through the door of the grocery store, I was greeted with a smile and a compliment on my shiny santa hat. This surprised me because I didn’t think it was anything special. I picked it up a year ago somewhere just for fun, but I smiled back and thanked the lady. On every aisle there was someone ready to help, and it turned out that I did actually need help. I couldn’t find the sun-dried tomatoes or soy nog on my own, and you already know how I feel about soy nog. I appreciated having someone nearby, who could direct me to the right place in the store.
“Can I help you find something?”
“Are you finding what you need?”
“How are you this evening?”
“Are you ready for Christmas?”
“Love the hat. Where did you get it?”
“Have you finished your shopping for Christmas?”
No less than 10 people offered help or greetings to me, and I was only in the store for 30 minutes. By the time I made it to the checkout, I was feeling quite relaxed and cheerful. Then, something else unexpected happened. The cashier helping me began to chat about her day and went on to say that she’d be spending this Christmas alone for the first time. She added that her daughter had been telling her how she could expect being alone on Christmas to be awful. I was touched that she’d share something so personal with me, and I was struck by how her daughter’s statement was so obviously affecting her in a negative way. She seemed a little sad, and I wanted to say something that would help her.
I followed my own intuition and told her what came to me. I suggested that she plan her day. I told her to do something special for herself. I remembered reading an article about how people are choosing to eat out on holidays instead of cooking at home. So I encouraged her to consider eating lunch or dinner out at a restaurant. She was concerned that they would all be closed, but I assured her that this was not the case. I told her that a quick search online for restaurants open on Christmas would help her decide on where to go. Then, it was time for me to go. She wished me a happy holiday, and I wished that she would find peace and happiness of her own this Christmas.
For anyone who expects to face Christmas alone this year, be adventurous. Embrace whatever your situation is and make it into what you want it to be. Let go of whatever is supposed to be. It’s good to create your own new traditions. Spend your time alone if you wish or get out of the house and set yourself free. You never know who you might meet on Christmas. Know that you don’t have to be alone if you don’t want to be.