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Don’t be a Christmas grump; let love into your heart

“You know it, I know it, and the American people know it,” Bob Dole used to say. He was right. In fact, I’m pretty sure humans everywhere on the third rock are aware of this universal truth:

Giving = good and being stingy = bad. Period.

But the tricky part isn’t necessarily in the giving … well, depending on the act, I suppose.

I mean, donating your new iPad, or your car, or a kidney … I could see where those might be a bit costly or time-consuming or even, you know, leave a mark. I digress.

Me? I happen to be of the mind that it’s not so much about the amount or the delivery method of a contribution as it is the spirit in which it is dispersed.

In other words, are you giving out of obligation, under duress, kicking and screaming, and / or clutching your donation tighter than a “Real Housewife’s” first layer of Spanx?

Or are you more like Oprah during one of her “Favorite Things” episodes when she giddly screams: “Everyone’s getting a BIG-SCREEN TV. And a diamond tiara! And a puppy!”

Let’s face it, she and some really smart people have made it patently obvious that it’s not just about the booty but how we dole it out, you dig?

Consider these knowledge gems as Exhibits A through C to support the theory:

A: “Giving freely and giving with a good heart, will never go unrewarded.” — James Clear, “The Art of Winning in Life.”

B: “True generosity doesn’t just come out of altruism or philanthropy, it comes out of joy.” — Rene Schlaepfer, “Richer Life.”

C: “…there is no happiness in having or getting anything, but only in giving.” — Henry Drummond, “The Ascent of Man.”

And then there’s the biggie, that second letter of St. Paul to those crazy Corinthians that reads, in part:

“Hey guys and gals,

“How’s it going? Haven’t heard back from you in a while. Hope all’s well and you’re doing what we talked about.

“Oh, right, one more thing. Don’t forget that we all need to give what we have decided in our hearts to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion. ‘Cause you know, God loves a cheerful giver, y’all.

“Chat soon!

“Your Buddy,

“Paul”

OK, it might not have gone precisely like that but the bit about not being reluctant and happily handing over stuff to someone who needs it? Well, that part’s the real deal.

This I needed reminded about as I grumpily (at least on the inside) rang the Salvation Army kettle bell last week in the cold mid-winter. Don’t get me wrong, I was super stoked to help as I have for years.

But I am old and ice intolerant, and acted like a big old wimpy baby, internally whining with every clang of the clapper. (In my own defense, I DO have Raynaud’s syndrome, a blood vessel disorder causing the extremities to numb then turn white, blue and finally red when circulation returns.)

And just when my mental pity party was at its peak, a lovely couple walked up to me with a cup of hot tea. My fingers and my ticker warmed up in a big old hurry, capisce?

So thank you, kind strangers, for your literal warmth … and for reminding one grumpy girl why she should just pack extra gloves and smiles next year. Besides, my fingers never looked more patriotic!

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