On December 24th, 2019 my sister and I went downtown to hand out blueberry candy canes. We gave them to bus drivers, customer service transit workers, shoppers and to some homeless folks.
Going downtown to hand out candy canes is a Christmas Time tradition that I love to do. People are so busy with shopping, worrying during the holiday season that I think they forget to see the blessings that they already have been given. The holiday seems to become more about money and gifts or a lack of money to buy gifts…worry and stress written all over their faces. Sometimes a candy cane can make them pause long enough to see how simple it is to give the gift of smile to someone. A gesture of kindness can do many things…no money required.
For some, Christmas is a lonely, sad time. They have no family to fill their house, no tree and no gifts to unwrap. They navigate the Holiday season watching everyone else hustling about to buy gifts for loved ones. It can be painful for them reminding them of everything that they don’t have. Sometimes giving a candy cane can lesson the pain of being alone and forgotten by family and others. The act of giving shows that person that you care for them even if you don’t know their name. It can lighten the sadness in their heart and allow a smile to creep in.
For the Homeless, those who have no where to go, those who have no family, those who have been forgotten or abandoned by their families…Christmas time can be brutal. Too many times people walk by them and pretend that they don’t see them, too afraid to make eye contact, too afraid that they will be asked for help in some way. This makes the person they are ignoring feel invisible, worthless, less than… It’s a horrible feeling to be invisible. To be never seen for the person you are, never valued… A kind gesture, a hot cup of coffee, or a candy cane with simple eye contact and a smile can help a person feel seen, valued and important.
Handing out candy canes, sharing smiles and sometimes having conversations with those taking the candy canes means a lot to me. Those smiles that I get when they reach out to take the candy canes are treasures to me. A smile given to others can brighten their hearts but to be a giver of a smile is a blessing that God has given me.