The Small Christmas Gift

 I was living in Japan and had just moved into a new neighborhood. I had met a few people thanks to my local church congregation. One was a young family who had also just moved to Japan from Seattle. I teamed up with this family when they decided to start running a secret Santa program which was pretty much unknown to the Japanese members of our community. I figured it would be a lot of fun to bring that tradition to Japan. We had a few families picked out but we weren’t exactly sure who would be the best choice to give our gifts to when the time came.

     We decided that we would mostly give to younger families with little kids thinking they could use the help the most. One of the families we picked had two young kids who were in elementary school. Our gift basket was full of smaller toys a cake and a coupon for a bucket of KFC. Sounds strange but that is a Christmas tradition throughout Japan. Most people usually have to reserve a bucket months in advance. I thought it was a strange tradition and wouldn’t be that big a deal to give a family this small basket.

     We had a lot of fun as a small group delivery the baskets. While delivering to this young family I volunteered to be the person to ring the doorbell and run away once we had the basket set up on their doorstep. I rang the doorbell and took off running down the hill that their house was on. I curved around their car and almost got hit by a passing biker. I dodged the biker and ended up tripping on a rock and rolling down the hill. Trying not to be seen a slowly crawled away from the house.

     Overall the experience was very funny and everyone else had a good time laughing at my fall even though I had ruined my new pants. I, of course, was a little upset that I sacrificed my pants for this small gift we were trying to give this family.

     About a month later another mother in our congregation was telling me that the family had come to them crying thinking they were the ones who left the small basket. I was stunned. Something that seemed so small to me and I even complained about a little bit, had meant so much to this young family. Now that it is over several years later the family still doesn’t know, I still have the scar on my knee from where I fell but now I see it and smile thinking how important that basket was to that young family.

What advice do you have for people striving to see the world in a more positive light?

      From this experience, I learned that even the smallest things can have a big effect on people. This is very inspiring to me because I realized that putting any effort into helping others can really brighten their day as well as yours. So my advice for living more positively is to help someone in need and realize you have the power to help make someone’s day much better.