Confession: I haven't yet taken down my Christmas tree. (Thank goodness it's artificial!)
I like it. I like the little lights. I like the holiday glow. And I really like that every ornament on the tree connects to some piece of family history or a special story. When I was a kid, my mom let me pick out an ornament every year. Then, when I left home as a young adult, I brought all my ornaments with me.
I started the same tradition with my son. And every year I also always add one ornament that signifies something from my year.
In 2012 I neglected to find or buy an ornament for the year. I keep a list of which ornaments my son picks out and which I add every year. So I was bit bothered by that empty space next to my own choice for 2012.
And then, last week, when I returned from 12 days in Ohio with my family, there was a package waiting for me. I opened it up and it was a handmade star ornament, with glitter! This ornament was a gift from an exceptional 10-year-old boy from Wisconsin named Christopher.
Christopher is the son of one of my wonderful coaching clients. In December, Christopher launched a program called "Socks for Seniors," in which he collected nearly 200 pairs of new socks to distribute to the elderly. I'd heard about his generous efforts and sent him a note and small gift card to congratulate him on his program and tell him how inspired I was.
As a thank you, he sent me a card back and the wonderful ornament he'd made! (See, that's it, in the photo!).
What I love so much about this ornament, besides the simple fact that it was a gift from such an amazing kid, is that it truly does represent something very significant and personal to me about 2012. One of the most valuable experiences I had was my 48-48-48 Kindness Project, which I launched for my 48th birthday. I offered 48 acts of kindness to 48 people in 48 hours. It was an incredible experience in so many ways — but mostly in showing me how easy and possible it is to find connections to strangers when we're willing to show up, be fully present, and make an offering.
Christopher did that through his sock project. And by sending a stranger (me!) a special ornament. When I see this ornament, each of those pieces of glitter reminds me of how he reached out to dozens of seniors by giving them socks. It reminds me of my birthday project where I got to connect with so many amazing strangers. It reminds me how fun and easy it was to connect with a terrific 10-year-old 2000 miles away. And it reminds me of all the possible and potential connections we can make with others out in the world.
All that glitters is not gold. But sometimes, like with Christopher's ornament, it's worth way more than gold!
See why it's so hard to take my tree down?!