Holiday Giving: The Explanation

This year, I did something I haven't done for holidays since...maybe four years?...since awhile. I made treats and passed them out to people and, unfortunately, I do not mean "all of my friends" but rather "the people I work with" only as I ran out of time and also had less to go around than I meant to. See: running out of time.

At any rate, the last time I did this I was celebrating a holiday with my ex, we were about to be at our respective hometowns, and I had a few days to myself. I was leaving on Christmas Eve and she was coming back on Christmas, so I decided to bake some treats (and also make mashed potatoes to be put in the fridge, as she was a loon). Then I decided that as long as I was baking, I might as well give some of the treats to our immediate neighbors in the apartment building.

Oh, how to explain those neighbors. One was a tiny older woman, maybe fifty or more, who wore heels and dresses and fake flowers in her hair and smelled like a lot of vodka. She was very sweet and we spoke often, as I worked in the neighborhood and she was often at my shoppe. The other lived on the other side of her and he was probably in his late twenties, lived alone and worked at an enviable job, as far as I was concerned. We got along well as we were both sarcastic and exchanged swift stories about dating perils and the neighborhood and our psychotic building manager. Still, we hadn't spoken very often so I'm not sure what made me think to add him to this list.

Honestly, I'm not sure why I did it at all. You don't tend to know a lot of your neighbors, here, and certainly the most I'd spoken with anyone else on my floor was one time the woman across the hall told me I left my keys in the door. I would see the same people all the time, we'd just never speak. I just had the urge and so I packaged up some various kolakies, cream cheese swirled brownies, and probably buckeyes. I wrote little notes on the two containers and left them at the doors of the other apartments before I left.

Fact: I would never eat something that I found in front of my door.
Fact: I did not, in fact, know the name of the guy living down the hall at the time, despite our friendly conversations.

The result? I made this guy cry. Seriously. Oh, the woman was touched and said thank you in a nicely written note. But the guy? He sought me out to tell me that he was alone for the holidays that year, that he'd been talking to his sister and came upon the package and apparently just started to cry and how much it meant to him. Which has stuck with me, how a small act of kindness can really mean something to someone. Something as simple as a brownie or a not-pretty-but-awfully-tasty-cookie or even just a handwritten note explaining you aren't sure if they have allergies or celebrate or anything, but you wanted to do something nice.

Then I never did it again until this year. For all I know, this meant nothing to my coworkers even though my bosses seemed to think it was nice of me. Still, it might have meant a lot or even a little, and it isn't the point.

AND OH MY HOW I HAVE RAMBLED. I will stick the recipe I am giving you in the next post, this is far too long I suspect.

Also, holy shit, was that ever sappy? Blargh.


If you'd seen that guy when he told me this, you'd want to share the story again too. Especially on cold January days, where you've tromped through snow and remembered the weird isolation that sometimes happens in large cities. I have an apartment where I live with my three close friends and two cats (my precious baby and my roommate's cat, who is oh-so-handsome), so it's not so isolated, but I've certainly been in moods where little things might make you cry or remind you about people.

I don't know. It's Eastern Orthodox Christmas, you know. Despite not celebrating, I still thought a holiday story might be nice.


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