Christmas, COVID, and Caring

COVID has impacted us all: the private sector has been impacted, many food banks have been overwhelmed, homelessness has been visible at intersections in almost every district in the city.    This Christmas, reach out to those people most impacted by COVID.

In that vein, I learned a lesson recently: if someone’s asks, wants, or needs something from us, and if it’s not negative, then the right thing to do is to honor the request.

For example, if a loved one gets a divorce, loses their house, or goes bankrupt during COVID, it’s time to step up to the plate and help their hearts mend.  Even if the person is a stranger, or someone you may never meet in your life, caring feels great.  Whatever the hardship, there are so many ways we can support loved ones in need.

In a time of desperation, food means more than words.  Encourage family and friends to donate food items.  Purchase a holiday meal to share with your loved one in need.

A cash gift can come in handy, too.  A professor of mine once said, “People often don’t give homeless people money for fear it might be spent on alcohol.  But if I was homeless, I think I might spend it on alcohol, too.” So, giving a cash gift, even if it’s spent on cigarettes or alcohol, is a way to show you care.  I’d personally prefer to give a gift card to a grocery store, instead, but every gift given is an act of love.

The gift of service can come in handy, as well.  If a loved one is elderly, then shoveling their walks might be a way to show you care.  You could also take your senior grocery shopping or clean his or her home.

Saying prayers for the person is another welcome way to show you care.  If you are not religious, perhaps a phone call filled with kindness would serve as a show of love.

Time spent together may be helpful, too.  Perhaps go with the person to their favorite restaurant, museum, or shopping mall.  Or just gather at a place of residence and play a movie or listen to music and talk.  And some healthy snacks like nuts, cheese, and berries go a long way in warming a hungry belly.

Helping the person realize their dreams is another excellent show of support.  No matter the age, severity of disability, or impoverishment, everyone should be supported in realizing their dreams.  If you can pay for a course they need, help them acquire items for a professional wardrobe, make them a resume, buy them an annual gym membership, or act as a chauffeur when needed, everyone benefits, especially the giver.

A COVID Christmas can be a difficult time for the person in need, but it can also be a spiritual time.  The gathering around of loved ones and the shows of support can make those under duress overflow with a sense of being loved.

And don’t worry if your gifts become an expectation.  Expect instead for your heart to burst from giving love during the duress of a COVID Christmas.