Spreading Holiday Cheer, Whether Near or Far

December 24, 2014

By Diane Gage Lofgren

  • During the holidays, is there a friend you can reach out to who you’ve been meaning to call?
  • If your girlfriend is traveling to visit loved ones, can you text to ensure she got to her destination safely?
  • Thinking of a girlfriend who has had a recent life-changing event, can you ask if she needs company during what can be an emotional time of year?
  • What about the friend you know who is caring for someone who is ill – could you bring over food or even do an errand for her?

Holiday Cheer 2014 PhotoWhile the demands of the season are many, we all feel the true spirit of the holidays when we take time to give – and allow ourselves to receive love and kindness in return.

My friend Sidonie travels home from California to Tennessee to visit her family during the holidays, and I travel to our getaway in the Appalachian Mountains. Yet she reaches out with texts, emails and phone calls.

Over Thanksgiving, Lynn and I had the best belly laugh ever during a touch-base call. She was going Black Friday shopping with friends at an upscale village in the Sierra Mountains and then stopping for tea while I was thrilled over my score in our mountain town — drug-store slippers marked down from $9.99 to $4.99. We couldn’t stop laughing at the juxtaposition – and kept amused via texts hours later.

Though miles away, Noonie typically accompanies me virtually while I walk my dog in the mountains and she kicks up sand on the beach with hers. My sister, Karen, may be at the Oregon coast watching waves crash against the rocks while I am singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” but through Facebook, texts and calls, we are by each other’s side.

This year just before the holidays, my Aunt Virginia turned 97 and my sister Kathy and I made a point to take her to lunch. Even though it’s the busiest time of the year for her jewelry store, she took time to celebrate.

Charlotte and I wanted to get together, but we both needed to do holiday shopping and her daughter was just returning from college. So we all piled in her car and shopped together, getting coffees and enjoying the magic of the season at our favorite outdoor mall.

Before I left for the holidays my friend Pat, whom I’ve known since grad school, met me for crepes and wine at a magical little bistro. Margaret and I had lunch and exchanged presents, but the best gift was her taking time to acknowledge our commitment to our partnership with our book, blog and speaking.

And then there’s the moment when the busyness of the holidays can get the best of you and a true friend knows. Leslie and I were to meet for dinner to celebrate the season when my plane was delayed returning from a business trip. I told her I could still be there, but just an hour later. Instead of pressing on, she stepped back and asked if I really needed to push that hard. We could see each other after the holidays when the rush of the season was over. Thank goodness. When I landed and went to get my car, it had been towed due to parking garage construction. If Leslie hadn’t given me a bye, I would have been stressed to the max thinking that she was waiting for me while I was rescuing my car.

Good friends are there for us, no matter the season. They know how to make us laugh, accompany us to events, listen to our sorrows, and rescue us for the madness we inflict on ourselves. Could there be any better gift than that?!

This season, let’s all give the gift of friendship!

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