Since moving to Guelph (and especially since the birth of our children) I have been overwhelmed at the kindness shown to our family by our friends and even people I only *just* met and later became friends with through a women’s group I attend. It amazed me when Gwyneth was born, when my Grandmother passed away and when we moved, the number of offers of freshly prepared meals, help with the baby, packing, moving, and the visits (all with gifts in hand) Thinking about these totally unnecessary but such welcome acts of kindness and generosity still makes me smile.

At the time I remember thinking “I want to give back” and since that time, a few of these people have had babies, or life events that have provided me an opportunity to give back to them, but I want to do so much more.

Recently on Freecycle (a local Yahoo group that offers unused/unneeded items to others so that they do not go to waste) I noticed a post that caught my eye. It was about a local woman who is struggling to make ends meet as she copes with a sudden separation from her husband. The message said that she has 4 small children. I wrote back to the person who had posted looking for items for her children, and was amazed to learn that I actually know this person…Guelph is indeed a “small town” afterall! Today I purchased some toys for her children, and hope to help her with some clothing and home-cooked food this Christmas.

The Christmas season is already upon us. This weekend, we were in several stores where the sights and sounds of the holidays were all around us. I happily shopped, and enjoyed my time as I always do at this time of the year. Indeed, it is so easy to forget and get caught up in the moment, that there are people that struggle.

This Christmas, make a point of giving. Do something nice for someone you know, or even someone you don’t! Someone you think could use the help, or even just someone who deserves it. Play Secret Santa, and deliver a Christmas stocking to someone anonymously. Make meals or do some baking for some special people that have done kind deeds for you. Give extra money to a favorite charity or chose more than one to donate to this year. Our family likes to remember the “furry friends” at the Humane Society and take in a donation of food and treats. Local charities can always use help of money, supplies or even your time.

Give back this Christmas…remember those around you that might not have as much. Such a small thing to do, with such a profound impact on someone else’s life. Pay it forward. It feels so good.