Erin's Journals

Monday, November 30, 2020

Just a thought… No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. [Aesop]

So much to tell you today, but nothing like the adventures of four weeks ago. Puppy Rosie is doing well (about 90% success on her training now) and Rob’s hand is well enough that he was wrestling with the prickles of an artificial tree on the weekend.

It hadn’t been unpacked since we put it in our rec room for the Christmas That Was, in 2014. (The main event was the real one in the living room.) In that time, some of the lights on this supposedly pre-lit tree decided to pack it in, adding about six hours’ work to the task of putting it together as we dipped our toes back into decking the halls.

I got one of about ten Rubbermaid totes unpacked on Saturday before feeling myself climbing into a pod of depression and just stopping. It was akin to decorating for a funeral. Yesterday was a bit better; I put it off until the afternoon, once I’d decided on no decorations, just lights and ribbon. Baby steps, right?

I was really okay with no more Christmases. But having family here with us means I have to put on my big girl stockings and just do it; I’ll let the warmth of the season come over me whenever it decides to visit. And anticipate with joy the family I never imagined would be here for our first foray back into the holidays.

It did come on Saturday evening in the form of one ornament: Brooke and Phil gave me one they’d been looking for, apparently for years: a banana ornament. And in teal – the colours of our accents in our house overlooking the ocean and mountains. I mean, how cute is this? We’ll find just the perfect spot for it.

Despite three rounds of vacuuming, the house is splattered with glitter and we’re now at that “finding it in my underpants” stage of post-decorating clean-up. I’m sure by March it’ll be all gone. Here’s how the tree looked last night; I will likely add a few balls as the week goes on and I feel a bit more festive. Or it’s fine as it is; haven’t decided.

That’s not the moon (full tonight); just a reflection of a kitchen light. Could be though, eh?

Meantime, your inbox has likely been jammed with sale notices from any place at which you’ve ever shopped online or given your email address in person, imploring you to take advantage of their Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales. Humbug. But tomorrow is worth noting: it’s Giving Tuesday – the day on which the orgy of spending is balanced a little with the spirit of the season: charity. And on that note, I’ll invite you to take a little bit of an inventory.

If in 2020 you did not spend on something that you would have – what economists call “discretionary spending” – perhaps you’d consider giving some of what you saved to people who truly are in need.

Now, I know full well that a lot of people haven’t a spare dime after a tough year, but there are some of us who have been fortunate: we’ve found other ways to keep our income flowing while saving on travel (gas, cruises, flights, accommodations, etc.), personal pampering like cosmetics, hair appointments, facials, massages, new clothes and the like.

There are a hundred other ways we haven’t spent money in 2020: house cleaners, dog grooming sessions, movie nights, restaurant outings or tickets to other entertaining events. But, of course, every dollar we have saved has come at the expense of people in those industries – people who relied on our spending to put food on their table. Everywhere you turn there is hardship.

So I’ll ask you to consider the money you saved by doing the right thing and staying home, and find a charity that is close to your heart and make a donation. You don’t have to wait until Giving Tuesday; make it your Monday motivation! Open those letters and emails from charities you’ve been generous with in the past, and consider how much greater the need is in 2020 than it has ever been before.

And if you usually drop a $5 or $20 in the Salvation Army kettle, please do it online this year. (Yes, there are many volunteers still ringing the bells, but perhaps you won’t be out to see them.) That’s only one of the tremendous organizations out there that need your help, and I know you can find your own. Food banks can make your dollar go farther than any Black Friday or point redemption program anywhere – trust me.

Please, please give. And if you’re one of the many who has fallen on hard times in 2020, I hope you’ll know that we’re thinking of you. And better than that, we’re going to be helping. Here’s a link to something I did for Markham Stouffville Hospital from the home setting in which I’ve been doing Zoom conferences, speeches and so on. Hope you like it.

And if you don’t mind, thank you for sharing this message today. You just never know who needs to hear it.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, November 30, 2020