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Sharing, Giving, and the Beautiful Madness of Christmas

I’m writing this from my family’s home in Nova Scotia. The lights on the Christmas tree are twinkling beside me and the scent of pine and cranberry are hanging in the air. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is playing on TV, an old favorite and a family tradition since I can remember. This is the spirit of Christmas for me, the little moments and nuances that my mother, father, and I have built for ourselves since the very beginning, and the things that hold us all together when the madness of the holiday season threatens to take its toll.

I almost didn’t make it here. The apocalyptic ice storm in Toronto nearly foiled my plans. On December the 20th, the busiest travel day of the year, the impending storm threatened to bump passengers from some of Porter’s flights. The airport was bustling with hundreds of worried travelers; families, couples, and single passengers who shook with fury at the thought of being late for their holiday festivities. Even worse, some people faced the threat of not making it for Christmas at all.

It was easy to get sucked into the turmoil. I felt the same rage when I saw that my flight was delayed by three hours. I tried everything I could to distract myself from the idea that I might not see my parents at the most important time of the year, my mind trying to wrap itself around the impending doom of remaining in Toronto without the family traditions that I had been so looking forward to. Around me, the entire airport reached pandemonium.

Everyone was scrambling to get out. The piercing sound of crying infants echoed from all directions as frantic passengers dashed towards the service desk, doing everything that they could to ensure that they wouldn’t be bumped from their precious flights. I hunkered down by my luggage and blasted Christmas music from my iPod. I had forgotten how chaotic the holidays could be.

Then something beautiful happened. I saw a couple approach the desk and volunteer to forfeit their flight. A couple with a one month old baby had been called up the service desk to hear that they would be bumped from their flight and this was to be their baby’s first Christmas with the grandparents. They were heartbroken that they wouldn’t make it and another couple had heard them talking with the service representatives, prompting them to give up their seats. Their selfless act gave one new family the opportunity to have a very happy (and memorable) holiday season.

I smiled. This was what we were missing. The Christmas carols on my iPod and the snow on the ground didn’t fill me with the same warmth that I felt watching that young family thank the couple for their good deed. They were giving up a lot, but at the same time, they were getting back something greater. The gesture they made was life changing, a gift that the young family would remember for many Christmases to come. It was then that I saw that the spirit of giving reaches out beyond the limits of our human comprehension. The lesson in such a selfless act will follow me for many Christmases to come, and I urge you all to keep that same lesson close to your heart.

As I sit by my tree and in the presence of my family, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Holiday, in whatever capacity you celebrate it. As the days grow longer again, may gratitude fill your hearts and encourage you to share the same joy, strength, and compassion that you would like to receive yourself. May the spirit of giving fill you with light. Happy Holidays, friends old and new, and here’s to the beginning of a blissful New Year!

Contributing author: Lauren Messervey.
Lauren is the social media coordinator for Yoga Tree. An avid Yogi with a love for Tree Pose, she is originally from Atlantic Canada and joined the bustling city of Toronto in June of last year. You may find her in the Midtown region, practicing Yoga or blogging for Yoga Tree. She is currently completing her first novel, set to be released Spring 2014.