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Gifting

It’s St Nicholas day today! Yay! 

St. Nicholas is a gift-giver. He is known as the friend and protector of all in trouble or need. He did many kind and generous deeds in secret, expecting nothing in return.

Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas’ feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. 

On the night of December 5th, boots are cleaned and carefully polished to be put by the door or on the windowsill to wait for St. Nicholas’ visit. 

He is generous to adults as well as children, putting a little present in each boot—usually coins, small toys, nuts, candy, apples,  tangerines and chocolates. In some areas a thin silver, gold or white twig with red ribbons are left as a warning that behaviour needs to improve.

When I grew up, in this small town in the north of Transylvania (Romania), St Nicholas always came and filled my boots generously.  He also always left me the small silver twig – just for good measure! We belived that if it snows on the 6th of December St. Nicholas has shaken his beard, so winter can begin. 

Today this story sounds wrong in some ways: hopefully we don’t take with sticks to unbehaving children anymore!  But when I grew up, St Nicholas with his sticks, tangerines and chocolates was great reason for joy and excitement. 

What I take from this childhood memory today, as a grown up, is the idea of the gift. The unconditional gift that may come to me through the kindness of a stranger, at a time when I need it most. Or the gift that I could make, just for the heck of it, to make someone feel good at a time when feeling good doesn’t come very easy. 

So today I feel grateful for each of you that find it in their heart to gift, unconditionally: the good Samaritans, our good friends, the stranger that smiled at me when I had a rubbish day, the person who left a parking ticket payed for 2 hours carefully stuck to the parking machine, all the heroic people doing what they can to help the refugees from Syria stuck in camps in various countries, all the gifters who gift with a light but generous heart. I am thanking you all. #goodthings

  

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