Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let It Snow VI

Sorry I'm late posting today; we had kind of a crazy night. After dinner a couple of proselytizers came to my door to inform me that the End is Nigh. This would be the same pair who informed me the End was Nigh last year, the year before that, and the year before that.

It's a little hard for me to take them seriously anymore, but you know, it gives us a chance to chat and catch up on how Prince of Darkness is doing, the many ways in which he walks among us, and how important it is not to be an enabler. I also know the Bible way better than they do so I can always help them find the best foreboding passages of doom, destruction and death; they're dying to get me as a guest speaker at the next End is Nigh luncheon and raffle. I also appreciate the badly-written pamphlets with pictures of cities fallen to ruin and the earth blowing apart on the covers that they give me. They're very absorbent, and I think the cat needs something funny to read while he's using the box.

Before you wag a finger at me, I get my fair share of belief grief in return. Last night while we were working on our tree, some kids crept up to the house and quietly vandalized our outdoor Christmas decorations. What they did was actually pretty funny (and easily repairable) so my guy and I laughed it off. Sometimes the spirit of the holidays means you need to be a little extra forgiving (but next time, you grinches, I'm letting out the little dog, who will happily rip your ankles to shreds.)

What inspires me most during the holidays is kindness in any shape or form. A smile from a tired cashier, who takes a minute to wrap your glassware in protective paper. A kid who holds the door open for you at the mall when you're carrying fifteen packages. Sometimes the smallest act of kindness can inspire others to be even more generous. The other day when I stopped by Dunkin Donuts I got to the end of the drive-thru line at the same moment a guy in a work truck did, and I let him go ahead of me. When I got to the window the girl told me that the guy in the work truck had paid for a large drink for me. That was the best cup of coffee I've had all year.

Someone (you know who you are) asked me if I named my giveaway Let It Snow because I knew Google was going to do the Let It Snow thing with their search engine. Because of course I'm psychic and could predict such a thing . . . . not. In reality it was a cool card I found at my pack-and-ship place. Someone very smart decided to design a line of greeting cards shaped like tree ornaments with strings attached so your recipient can hang them right on the tree. It's a very creative solution to displaying one's greeting cards in a festive and convenient manner. That kind of simple ingenuity inspires me to no end, and I really liked the one as you see here that said Let It Snow, and I already had the snowflake tote, and snow doesn't offend anyone except those who have to shovel it, so I ran with that as my theme. No psychic powers involved whatsoever.

Today I'm adding the non-psychic inspired Let It Snow tote out-of-print paperback copies of my SF novels Bio Rescue and Afterburn, a mini aromatherapy kit, and a 2012 BAM Book Lover's block calendar that says it has over $100.00 in savings. I'm also adding a mystery item, and the hint for this one is that it comes from the Publishing Fairy, and you know what sort of wishes she usually likes handing out around here.

If you'd like a chance to win this giveaway, in comments to this post tell us about anything you find inspiring during the holidays (or if you can't think of anything, just toss your name in the hat.) I will draw one name at random from everyone who participates by commenting on this or any of my other Let It Snow giveaway posts from now until midnight EST on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, and send the winner the tote with all the contents. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

50 comments:

  1. The sappy holiday commercials they show at Christmas often make me tear up. Some of them are inspiring, showing people doing random acts of kindness.

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  2. I love those moments. They really do make your day. The people at the local coffee shop gave me a free late to celebrate passing a grad school exam that I've been quite worried about. (On to clinicals!) It was really nice to know that they care.

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  3. I work at a place called OU which is a not-for-profit rehabilitation center which serves 38 individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. I've seen a lot of inspiring things before, but the community in which OU is located goes above and beyond. I've never seen some of these individuals smile as much as they did the other day when a local college came and sang Christmas songs and brought them each gift for Christmas. They also had carolers from a church come into the houses to sing for them and talk with them a few weeks ago. I find the community where I live inspiring ... especially around the holidays!

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  4. You are hilarious!!!

    My grandmother was telling my Uncle that he needs to get his act together because Jesus is coming soon.
    My Uncle said "yeah, yeah, yeah, that dude had been coming again since I was a baby, and I ain't seen him yet. Besides, he should think twice about coming here, last time he came, he didn't fare so well."

    I was laughing so hard. Grandma wasn't amused though.

    Anyway, I am inspired by the amount of coats, bicycles and toys people donate to Salvation Army.
    I wish we were this generous all year round.

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  5. I love to see my old geezer dog (he's 11!) pounce around in the snow like a pup. We only got a sprinkling of snow a couple of weeks ago and he was sooooo happy. Tail wagging glee. Thinking about it always makes me smile.

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  6. Shannon D.10:09 AM

    Taking my kids to the store to take angels from the tree has been the most inspiring event every year, without a doubt. They get so excited! They will spend hours agonizing over what is the perfect gift for this person they have never met. It's beautiful to watch.

    Last year, my daughter surprised me by writing out a very clear budget that would allow her to purchase gifts for THREE angels instead of one. I have never been so proud of her.

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  7. For me it is the simple acts of kindness, all year round but especially at Christmas time. So many people become so self absorbed, in the stores shopping and on the roads. So I try to not be that way: letting people with a few things go in front of me at the store, etc. They are so appreciative and it makes me feel good. I wish more people would realize that it is the simple things that make the world go round. Going to look at lights with my kids every year is another one that I never get tired of. Seeing their joy as they dance under the lights with A Charlie Brown Christmas music playing.

    Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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  8. I love how during the holidays hearing about or seeing people do kind things inspires kindness in others. Where I live they did a news story a week or so ago about a woman who paid off all the layaways at a Kmart for a store in Indiana. Throughout this week here in PA layaways have been paid off in K-marts, Wal-marts and other stores. It is pretty inspiring and brings tears to my eyes every time I hear about it.

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  9. As corny as it sounds the radio stations have done a good job of inspiring me this year. Two rival stations have both been playing Holiday/Christmas music since Thanksgiving and hearing some of the older "classic" songs have helped keep me in the holiday spirit. At work we took on the "100 Neediest Families" and have collected household goods, presents for the kids and much needed clothing for them. Plus we had bake sales, a "wrapping station", and a toy drive all to raise funds and gather things for a local charity.

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  10. I'm a high school teacher. On the second to last day before winter break, I lost my temper with a young lady who is a perpetual drama queen. The young man sitting next to her got up and walked out of my class...a bad moment gone worse. I had a colleague cover my class and tracked the boy down. His parents are divorcing, and he said he just couldn't take "any more fussing." He forgot his lunch money that day and hadn't eaten. It was all just too much, but he would understand if I wrote him up for walking out. I felt terrible. I apologized for letting the girl push my buttons to the point that it affected the whole class, gave him lunch money, and sent him to the cafeteria.

    Everything we do affects somebody, and sometimes we don't even see the collateral damage our cross words create. I'm usually pretty even-keeled in my classroom, but it just takes one bad moment to hurt someone.

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  11. When strangers reach out and asist others readily and distribute goods.

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  12. Anonymous10:38 AM

    I also love the random acts of kindness attitude that blooms this time of year, although I wish (New Year's wish) we all practiced it year round. My co-workers and I just delivered food and gifts to our adopted family of four who's breadwinner was laid off and can't find work. I love when an obviously harried christmas shopper responds to my smile with one of their own.

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  13. Fran Kane10:49 AM

    I agree with all the comments above. Its the out of the way kindness of strangers that is so inspiring all year round. A lovely young lad gave me £1 for a parking meter when my pound flew out of my hand and out of reach. A young 'un, too, so refreshing. I try to follow the following rules:
    Treat others the way you'd like to be treated.
    Pay it forward.

    I think it works, as shown by the example above.

    The other inspiring thing at this time of year is the innocent joy on the faces of children.

    As my son says: peace out!

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  14. My dogs always provide me with joy and fun especially now in the snow.

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  15. I find it inspiring that, even though things didn't end up perfect last year, we all consistently believe that we can make things perfect this year, if we just try a little bit harder.

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  16. Sorry to say but I am pretty grinchy. Because of my disease, I have to hide in my apartment away from the bustle. However, my step-daughter sent us a Banana tree this year. That put a smile on my face since it has been very cold. I miss the warmth of Florida sometimes. ;-)

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  17. This year what I find most inspiring is the news of so many people anonymously paying off the majority of layaway accounts at Kmart, especially for those with small children, in several different states. Too many families I'm sure it seems a Christmas miracle that that happened.

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  18. Tammy S12:55 PM

    Like Helen I heard this on the news the other day.

    A man walked into our local KMart and paid off someone's layaway. When asked why, he replied he'd won some money at the casino and wanted to do somethign good with it.

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  19. I love that no matter what is going on in our lives, my family gathers en masse for the holidays. It shows how much of a close-knit group we are.

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  20. The way people can come together to help one another and find the strength inside to keep going; the compassion inherent in some people who do good for the sake of doing good without thought to rewards.

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  21. Random acts of kindness are wonderful to give and receive. I am being purposeful about finding the little joys this Christmas season.

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  22. It's inspiring just to see the holiday decorations. It makes me want to shop & cook.

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  23. Margaret Claire2:04 PM

    I,too, was gifted by a customer at DD who I let get in front of me on line. He paid for my #3 order and I'd like to think that it was because I was young and cute.....NOT! But I can have a Christmas fantasy, can't I?

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  24. For me it's the random acts of kindness of strangers.

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  25. I find it inspiring when I hear stories of strangers helping out people who are less fortunate than themselves.

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  26. Today I'm just tossing my name in the hat because after spending way too much time waiting in a store I've quite forgotten the magic of Christmas ;) It'll come back tomorrow but right now I'm not really happy about how crazy people get in stores!

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  27. I find it so inspiring how the community unite to give back to the less fortunate. I see people fundraising for the food bank, or simply donating blankets and coats on the streets and giving toys which will be passed to those who need them. Some people are kids raising money for other kids. It shows the spirit of the holiday.

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  28. It might be a little self centred but i'm going to have extra warm-fuzzies on christmas day this year. I have a friend in America who's son had been asking for this one specific thing from Santa for months and it turned out to only be available in the UK store. I didn't even think twice when my friend asked me if i could buy it and send it over to her. I know she would do the same thing for me and it's nice that i can make her kid get his wish for christmas.
    Close friends who do things for each other and acts of kindness make the world go round.

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  29. reflections for the past year...before new resolutions in the new year..

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  30. I like how many people end up in better moods and happier and nicer during the time. I dont know if its the music or decorations or just happy its the end of the year but I like it. And for people just being nicer, I saw a report this morning on TV about random people calling or going to the layaway desks at KMart and paying off others layaway orders. There is no other time of the year that someone would do that for a stranger.

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  31. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Lynn,
    I love where I work and the fact that at Christmas time our department adopts "Angels". Every fire station in Jacksonville adopts 2-3 "Angels" (needy children) and purchases gifts. Last year, we had more than 100 bicycles/tricycles alone. That does not include the toys, clothes and books purchased. I think it is amazing that these big, tough firemen stop their lives to shop for kids they do not even know.
    Tami
    Jacksonville

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  32. Dispite it being a very tough year and no light at the end of the tunnel, this season always reminds me I still have a multitude of things for which to be grateful.

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  33. Throwing my name in the hat. I admit to being only inspired this year by remembering the blood and sacrifice of Jesus birth and death. I'm not feeling as easily inspired as most years.

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  34. I love the sappy commercials, too, but it's so lovely to hear how some kindhearted people are helping those less fortunate by donating their time and money.

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  35. Random acts of kindness! Opening the door, answering a question by a visitor at church.

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  36. When people who don't have much still manage to be cheerful. I see it all the time and it still makes me smile.

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  37. The incredible generosity I witness everyday, and that despite all the bad stories I hear about, there is usually something good atleast once a day.

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  38. Just to be different...

    This time of year, I never fail to be inspired by butter.

    Yes, butter.

    Because butter leads to cookies and what's better than a cookie, fresh from the oven?
    ;)

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  39. Shizuka10:41 PM

    I also find random acts of kindness inspirational.
    But more than that, good spirits from people who work in retail or one of the hardest places this time of year -- the post office. I stood on a long line this morning stressed because I wasn't sure I'd actually get to mail out my package (had to be somewhere else very soon) and the calm, friendliness of the young woman at the post office reset my day.

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  40. My oldest stepson loathed Christmas with everything in him (he had very good reason to, but that's neither here nor there). Last year getting him to be Christmas happy was almost impossible. After a fantastic Christmas, he loosened up a bit.

    This year he's as festive as can be. It's so awesome to watch him glow with the holiday season.

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  41. I find handmade gifts inspiring during the holiday season. I love that people put so much thought and work into something for someone they love. It means so much more than running out to Target on xmas even and plucking something at random to put on the tree. Plus it makes me want to get all crafty. :)

    DiDi

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  42. There is something that has really inspired me this year... There have been more people than not around me who 'don't do Christmas' or 'don't do presents' etc. Their faces are hard and their eyes narrow as they proclaim their disdain for the holiday, for the materialism, for spoiled children or all of the above.

    Then they are handed something made by hand. Something small like a card or a bikkie wrapped in pretty paper. They are given something so small but that took time and thought, and the hardness melts away. Their eyes soften, they smile, and then they remember that there are good things about this holiday that don't involve 'the latest' this or highly expensive that.

    They remember that some of us out there still find more joy in giving than receiving.

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  43. Briana N. from Canada7:20 AM

    The holidays in and of themselves are inspiring to me. I find inspiration in the classical Christmas songs, in the eyes of the children and in simply spending time with my family.

    I love making and baking gifts, spending time with friends and family, wrapping gifts and in the act of giving. Everyone seems more generous at this time of year and that attitude is contagious.

    Thank you for this contest, you are a fantastic example of what the holidays should be about.

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  44. Now I want to buy a coffee for the guy in the work truck. That was so nice of him. Around here, I'm just happy when I smile at someone and they smile back. People seem too darn grumpy this year.

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  45. What a nice thing the guy in the work truck did! Kind of restores your faith a bit, yes?

    Speaking of faith and such, you're little dog is too cute to want to rip to shreds anyone's ankles! I never worry about that with my Dobermans though. They'd help the Grinches for a cookie or two. *sigh* Yeah, big, bad dogs...NOT!

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  46. Sheila11:09 AM

    The holidays these past few years have been rather downers due to the passing of family members.
    There is one bright spot that makes us smile and laugh.
    A few streets away from me there is a house that could be compared with the house in Christmas Vacation. And it's spread from that house to include the whole block.
    Kind of nice to neighbors come together and spread some cheer.

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  47. I love all of the "Pay It Forward" types of activities I've seen and read about this season. My sister in law had her Starbucks paid for by the person in front of her. Next time she was there, she did the same for someone else. I also love the people that go anonymously pay off other peoples' layaway purchases. Warms the heart!

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  48. I find a few things inspiring. I find the story about the work truck guy inspiring in that I want to go to Starbucks and do that for someone myself. I also find some houses and their Christmas lights awe-inspiring.

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  49. I find smiles and warmth and love very inspiring. After seeing some hate posts on CraigsList today, it inspires me even more when people love just because they can.

    I also saw on CraigsList where a lady had posted she lost her job and wanted help for Christmas. I emailed to ask if anyone had responded....she replied that somene had and sent a website where I could find others that needed help. Truly a rare gem, this lady. I've been smiling all day after speaking with her!

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  50. that our department at work always takes up gifts for toys for tots and this year we gave to the child life department in the children's hospital. Made me take a name off the angel tree. Was fun shopping for a little one.

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