Growing up, my family had many traditions. One that I always looked forward to was the night we chose “angels”. After we had decorated the tree, the names of all six kids plus mom and dad were put into a bowl. One at a time, we drew a name and kept it secret. From that point until Christmas Eve, we were supposed to be an “angel” to that person without them knowing who we were. We would do fun things like leave little notes in his/her room, clean his room or do dishes on her night, buy or make small gifts and secretly leave them………whatever we could think of that was nice. The goal was that we took a little extra time during the Christmas holiday to focus on being extra nice to at least one other person. I always felt excited creating new ways to be nice. On Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, we would guess who our “angel” was and why we thought it was that person. Sometimes you had no idea (maybe because everyone was always nice, right mom?) but usually it seemed like we could each figure out who had been especially nice to us and it felt good – it connected us as a family.
When I was teaching 5th grade, I shared this story with my class two years in a row and both years my class begged to do it with their peers. It was really fun. I could see many of them trying really hard to come up with creative ways to be nice to each other and many of them guessed the “angel” correctly.
With all the busyness and stress of the holidays, it is refreshing to set aside some time to focus on personal gifts we have to share with others.