By Amanda Ponzar
Now more than ever, during this joyous holiday season with all the hustle and bustle, it's a good time to think about what really matters. Like patience -- not giving other drivers the finger during bad traffic (I can't tell you how often this happens to me in the DC area!). Not yelling at your family in the car all the way to the Christmas Eve service where you sing about peace and love. Saying thank you and giving good tips/gifts -- like with the hair stylist this morning or my school's teachers. Integrity.
I bought something at Target this week, and what was remarkable was not that I bought it, but that I waited to buy it in customer service while some lady returned a box of fuchsia glitter tutus -- because I'd gotten to the car and realized that amidst all my bags, I had something small ($2.69) in the bottom of my cart that I hadn't paid for. I actually was running late and had to leave at the time, so made a special trip to Target with the item to explain I'd left without paying for it. The cashier couldn't believe it.
The same thing happened at Starbucks last month; when I looked at my receipt, I saw they hadn't charged me for all the drinks I ordered, so I went back, told them, and paid for it. Throughout my life I've done this -- Express once forgot to charge me for a $45 pair of jeans, and I pointed it out and paid, even when I was a poor college student and that much money took me many hours to earn. Believe me, I don't always do the right thing -- to my shame. But it's my goal to try.
It's kind of like the Grinch, when he gleefully steals all the Who's stuff (even their last can of Who hash!) but Christmas comes anyway: "How could it be so? It came without ribbons!... it came without tags!... it came without packages, boxes, or bags!" And he finally realizes what Christmas is all about. It's not about the number of presents under the tree.
If you need inspiration, visit The Foundation for a Better Life (values.com) and their great TV commercials and billboards. Check out the "classroom" spot as an example of honesty. I don't know much about the organization so am not endorsing it, but it's pretty impressive to watch a TV commercial (which is usually trying to sell me something I don't need) that demonstrates positive values like love or courage and says "pass it on." We could all use the reminder. So this Christmas, live it out. Even if it costs you.