“Loving service anonymously given may be unknown to man – but the gift and the giver are known to God.” – Thomas S. Monson

What are a few of your favorite things? I know you have them and surely you love the beautiful song, My Favorite Things, from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music. And, if you have been following my column for any amount of time, you also know it would be a song which would speak to me.

I melt whenever I hear the beautiful song, specifically when sung by Barbra Streisand. Her voice brings the enchanted lyrics to life. You can see the “bright copper kettles” polished and glistening. And, I have seen “wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings.” What a special gift to see them flying in the moonlight and hear them talking. Every time I hear those words, the memory of many December nights at Crabapple are graciously returned to me.

I have stood spellbound, more times than I can count, at the beauty of “raindrops on roses.” Really, I love all the favorite things mentioned in the song – but I have many others and I know you do also. Especially at Christmas.

Every Christmas, for each of us, is special and full of traditions. These traditions differ with each family, and that is the very thing that makes them special – they are yours. They are unique. But, there is something I hold more dear than the many traditions. And, that is the love which fills the season – the true spirit of Christmas.

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You see, I believe in Santa Clause. I believe in giving for no reason – just because. I believe in giving anonymously or being a “Secret Elf.”   You will never know the true meaning of Christmas more than when you place brightly wrapped packages and the ingredients for several wonderful meals at the front door of a family you know needs help. But don’t forget to include a card which says – “Always Believe. Love, Santa.” And, be sure to do your “Elf” work when you are certain the recipients are not at home or they are fast asleep.

“Elf” work is not limited to families with children. Remember Santa knows all. He knows the many people who have lost their way, people who have lost faith in their fellow man, the homeless and the elderly. And, as members of our communities, we know them also. The smallest gesture can mean so much.

Yes, I love elves – always have. They work year-round, not just at Christmas. I have known elves to unite with other elves and form elf societies. And, when there is a group of these dynamic elves working together for a cause, there is no limit to the joy they can scatter. I have seen them place an entire Christmas on a porch. Yes, tree, lights, presents and food. I have seen a gorgeous prom dress hung on a front door for a princess who thought she would never have one, money for gas and a nice lunch placed at the door of someone who needed to travel to check on a loved one, winter coats placed in a spot for the homeless, stacks of blankets which suddenly appeared when a furnace had to be replaced and there were many bicycles which arrived on birthdays. All the above are true and they were all left with the card that read: Always Believe. Love, Santa. Even if the “Elf” work was done in June.

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elf-hat

This Christmas season, let us strive to inspire each other to reach for all that is good, to extend kindness and “scatter joy.”  The ripple effect of goodness is long reaching. It matters not, that our names be attached to an act of love. What does matter is how our actions lift the spirits of others and offer hope. Mr. W. C. Jones explains this much better than I do when he said, “The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each other’s burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.”

So, this Christmas, I am wishing you and yours all your “favorite things.” May your lives be enriched by the love of this beautiful season. Who knows – you may meet an elf or become transformed into one!

Joyeux Noel,

Sandra