We all need to feel appreciation in our lives. A simple thank you or gesture of thanks can change your whole outlook on work or daily tasks. When we give of ourselves and don't receive any feedback, it often leaves us discouraged, feeling like we don’t care to give again. You know the times- when you do something that you feel like is HUGE and no one cares! 

It is always important to appreciate the ones you love because without them your whole happiness would not exist. But what about the people in your daily life that you may not even know who provide you services? The people who take out your trash? or serve your meals? or educate your family and friends? These people are often not shown any appreciation even though they impact our lives immensely.

A few years ago my parents- who encourage me everyday with their Christ like outlook on life- decided that as a family we needed to appreciate these people more fully. I am one of six children, in a very fun, loving, and LOUD family. We have always been taught the importance of giving, but our parents wanted to make sure that we understood how to sacrifice of ourselves to appreciate others more. 

So for Christmas, they decided to cut down on our presents and instead start a yearly tradition called ‘Jesus Elves.’  In this tradition, we are each given $100 and a note of appreciation that throughout Christmas day we are to give to someone that needs to be appreciated. It may be someone who has to work at the movie theatre on Christmas morning, or to a nurse that keeps watch instead of celebrating with her family. We’ve given to waitresses at some of the few restaurants that stay open all day on Xmas. We've also given to the fire departments, humane shelters, etc. It is never fun to have to work on Christmas day, so by leaving this gift with people we are able to shed some love on them for all that they do. 

It is funny how this tradition has changed our holidays! Of course at first, there was some hard feelings about ‘wanting more presents’ but since the tradition started, we look more forward to giving this away than opening gifts for ourselves. We all pile into the car together and drive around to different spots donating and thanking. You can imagine its a funny site! 8 people piled into a car peering out as one of us goes into a shop or restaurant to say thanks. 

There is one story in particular that sticks out to me where my sister Linsey and I went into a waffle house and ordered a coffee, leaving the $100 bill as a tip behind. As we walked back to the car we watched the waitress’s face light up and burst into tears when she received the bill. It is something that may be a small gesture to some, but could change someone else’s world. 

I am so thankful for this tradition and what it has taught me and my family. Appreciating others can benefit not only those receiving thanks, but it can also change your life too. 

INTENTION: Appreciating others and it will help you appreciate life. 

 Emily Lovejoy

Emily Lovejoy

Emily's happy place is being surrounded by lots of family and friends. She is 23 years old and currently wandering around the land of Aus. She loves to travel, go to the theatre, and enjoy a nice glass of champers! Check her out on Facebook.