Random Acts of Kindness for the Holidays

It’s the holiday season again! The time of year where almost all local radio stations play traditional songs to hype up listeners and boost the holiday spirit; it is that season where incredibly large numbers of sheep, goats and oxen get ready to go to their new “homes”; it is that season where you will see long lines of women with their ‘netela’ around the gates of ELFORA or other chicken and egg wholesalers; it is that season where you will see a lot of shoppers here and there making sure they have every food and ingredient to cook for the holiday!

Growing up in a middle class family in the city and in a society that strongly believes in ‘food festivities’ for holidays, I wonder what would happen if we looked at things form a different perspective. What if a holiday meant just a day off from work and time to get together with family and friends, nothing fancy? What if it meant sharing what we have with the less fortunate neighbors, fellow citizens or anybody else for that matter? What if it meant going to the hospital and paying a visit to someone who was dying? What if it meant many things other than the usual “food festivity” and fanciness? What if we looked forward to a “Holiday with random acts of kindness”? 

Given that that is not the culture we are used to, it sure would be hard to get used to. Many other reasons might pop up like ‘this is just for a day’, ‘we can do all the other things another time’, ‘It doesn’t seem like a holiday unless there is a lot of food in the house’, ‘it doesn’t feel like a holiday unless I buy new outfits’, etc. And that all makes sense because nobody likes to be dragged out of the comfort zone they have been in for years. But in all honesty, what would it hurt to sometimes jump off our comfort zone at least to try and see how it feels? 

Nobody needs to be rich to make a difference in someone’s life, all one needs is time and willingness to do something kind. We just seem to be indulged with our own wishes and needs that make us think it takes extra effort to practice random act of kindness. But if we really think about it, holidays are supposed to be seasons of gifts. Religiously, holidays are supposed to represent a day that we give thanks to God for many reasons depending on our beliefs. If we look at the experience of others especially overseas, it has now become more of a family day, a time to get together and exchange gifts that is extremely boosted by the aggressive marketing of product and service companies. So we can pick one side, the first one if you are a religious or the later if you are not, and tag along with the season; give gifts not to your friends but to those who can’t get anything because this “little” thing called life happened to them, give an hour filled with a smile and positive energy to someone who can’t afford to have that because they are dying, losing/lost someone, take an hour from your day and bring couple of street kids home to share a plate from your fancy “holiday buffet” and listen to their story, not to be depressed but to be grateful about where you are and to be inspired…if you can sit down and think, you can come up with hundreds of ideas to put into action  as holiday  random act of kindness. And if you can do at least one thing every year, you will have more than enough ideas for the rest of your life… Happy Holidays!

2nd Year . January 2014 . No.11

Selam Mussie

EBR staff writter


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