12 Days of Christmas Cheer: #ARichChristmas Day 2

In Frank Capra’s Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”, George Bailey’s daughter Zuzu delivers the classic line:

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets it’s wings”

If that’s the case, the Salvation Army is dishing out wings all across the country, one jingle at a time.

How do you normally approach the iconic Christmas bell ringers?

Do you find another entrance trying to avoid them altogether, drop your brow, fake a phone call, look into the air?

This year I’m challenging a new approach. When you see someone taking their time to volunteer, try this:

  1. Ask them their name
  2. Thank them for serving
  3. Ask them their favorite Christmas memory

In short, make an investment. You’ll be amazed…

I had the idea after I walked out of the grocery story earlier this week. As usual, I was in a hurry and failed to take notice of my surroundings.

From behind, I heard a faint, “Merry Christmas!”

It was the Salvation Army bell ringer.

In my haste, I had failed to notice him. As I drove away, it really bothered me. I wondered how many people actually stopped to talk to him. I wondered how many people in my life I neglected simply because I failed to notice them. I made it a point to not let it happen again.

The next time, I engaged.

Maurice lives in Wilmington, but he’s moving to New York in January to work for Chobani Greek Yogurt. He was excited about his new job, really excited! He has 3 boys and 1 girl; much to his dismay, he doesn’t see them as much as he’d like.

I asked him his best Christmas memory…

Immediately, I could see the emotion well up inside him as he thought about something that he’d nearly forgotten; Christmas memories long gone.

“When I was a kid, we used to go to my grandparents in Amboy Center, NY. It was something out of a Rockwell painting.”

The nostalgia and joy that rushed over him as he described Christmas at his grandmothers flooded over to me. It filled me with JOY as I thought about Christmas at MY grandmothers.

Then, he shared, “When my grandparents died, we all kind of scattered.”

His demeanor changed and I saw that he missed those times. I tried a word of encouragement, “Don’t forget the memories Maurice, I’ve enjoyed hearing about them.”

I hope our conversation sparked enough of a memory that he will cherish it this Christmas.

I know I will think about Maurice on Christmas Day, hoping that he’ll reflect on Christmas Past with joy.

And, from now on, I’ll think differently when I hear the sound of a bell ringing.

What’s your greatest Christmas memory?

MH

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