“Tis the season to be jolly!”

Traffic! Lots of people everywhere! Crying children! No, this is not a war I am describing, this is Christmas shopping! Yesterday I spent 45 min in the car between IH10 and the La Canterra shopping mall on a trip that normally takes me 5 min.  I’m wondering how can it be? Why? What comes over Christians and non-Christians that inspires us for heroic acts during this hectic time and even makes us enjoy it? I saw a Muslim woman praying at 4 pm in the middle of the mall parking lot on a small rug that her granddaughter placed before her. She was bowing in the middle of terrible parking situation surrounded by cars and angry drivers hopelessly driving around in hopes of finding an empty spot. I loved it! Christmas in America!

Do we like to buy? Do we need more stuff? May be just a little bit of that, but I think the answer is WE LOVE TO GIVE. It is the bug of giving that makes us go through inhuman traffic, yards of wrapping paper and ribbons, boxes and boxes and more boxes and finally long lines at the post office. Yes, and I am no different. Although my religious believes could be summarized in JewBuU translated as Jewish Buddhist Universalist, I love Christmas! I love shopping; I love a lot of people, beautiful decorations, jingle bells everywhere and the general atmosphere of excitement. I also love to give and I get genuinely offended at a “no gifts” policy often imposed on me by friends and family. With all due respect, Christmas is the time for presents!

As the director of Musical Bridges, a non-profit organization, I see the seeds of giving grow every year. Our Board of Director, staff and volunteers give money, their valuable time, and their talent regardless of Christmas or any other incentive. The Giving Bug is very powerful and will change the world, eventually, I hope. When a highly educated Webmaster takes time to open the doors at the concerts or a brilliant graphic designer runs after tourists with free concert flyers in her hands, it is fascinating! Everyone gives in his or her own way; this bug contaminates us all and to a great extent is responsible for the quality of our lives.  And in return we give the gift of music, the gift of beauty and education to our local community.

Dec2013_Girls_400I normally make my list a month in advance and try not to forget anyone including the “no gift policy people.” Of course, the most fun is shopping for my two little nieces who live in another country at the moment. During Christmas time I like to send flowers to people from my past that helped make me who I am now, my teachers and my mentors. I thank people who greatly affect my quality of life by their dedicated work, like my housekeeper, laundry driver, my hairdresser, my fabulous seamstress and Zumba teacher. My life is full and busy and I actually take time to remember and give thanks to these special people during Christmas. Despite a hectic time I actually slow down for that.

Among the “no gift policy people” are my parents. Not only they do not like presents, they are genuinely against me spending any money and especially on them. They are very vocal about it… just in case I forget… you know what I mean… But it is priceless for me to see their faces light up like a little child’s when they unwrap the boxes and carefully take out the presents. I try to remember to have change with me during this time of the year to give to people on the street corners. I am not a God to judge them, all I can do is to give a little something enough just for one meal. I like to receive presents as well but on the scale 1-10, giving goes off the charts. I feel very fortunate, the universe is good to me and I want to give back. Giving is the privilege that fills my heart with love and brings “Tis the season to be jolly!” to life

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