A group of friends find Christmas joy in quietly giving to needy families in the Albuquerque area.  They call it “a ding-dong dash” since they leave the gifts at the family’s door, knock, and then leave to remain anonymous.

I’m reminded of a personal story that I’ve heard Oprah Winfrey tell on several occasions.  Here it is in a 2004 interview with Business Week:

I will never forget when I was about 12, and my mother told my siblings and me that we would not be receiving Christmas gifts because there wasn’t enough money.

I remember at the time that I felt sad and thought: “What would I say when the other kids asked what I had gotten?” Just when I started to accept that there would not be a Christmas that year, three nuns showed up at our house with gifts for us. There was a turkey, a fruit basket, and some games, and for me, there was a doll.

I felt such a sense of relief that I would no longer have to be embarrassed when I returned to school. I remember feeling that I mattered enough to these nuns — who I had never met and to this day still don’t know their names — and what it meant that they had remembered me.

My memory of the nuns’ generosity that Christmas is what inspired me to create ChristmasKindness South Africa 2002 — an initiative that included visits to orphanages and rural schools in South Africa where 50,000 children received gifts of food, clothing, athletic shoes, school supplies, books, and toys.

Who are the recipients of your acts of kindness?  Perhaps a future teacher, scientist, mother, entrepreneur, or world leader.  You may never know.

Merry Christmas everyone… and a happy new year.

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Posted on 23 December 2008

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