The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Santa talks with a little girl at a Toys for Tots giveaway at the Havasupai village on the floor of the Grand Canyon.
Santa talks with a little girl at a U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots giveaway at the Havasupai village on the floor of the Grand Canyon.

By Judy Berman

There’s something in the air. The cold quickly turns our breath into a frosty mist. We seem to be frozen in time and space, delayed by long lines and heavy traffic. Despite this, many people are more patient, generous, thoughtful and caring than in any other season.

Even in the dark moments, there is light. For me, this is the most wonderful time of year. I pause amid the rush to savor the quiet, sweet moments.

Once, many years ago, as I walked among bustling crowds, I couldn’t help but smile at passers-by. That didn’t go unnoticed. One young man smiled back, wished me a “Merry Christmas,” and continued on his way.

It’s doubtful he knew the impact of his smile, from one stranger to another. Here and then gone in a twinkling. Yet it has stayed with me all this time. Little do we realize the ripple effect created by random acts of kindness.

Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Savage chats with a veteran at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans during a Christmas dinner visit.
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Savage chats with a veteran at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans during a Christmas dinner visit.

Just look around. There’s no shortage of people reaching out to help and care for others.

Drivers are more courteous now. They wave to another motorist, allowing them to merge into the heavy flow of traffic. Shoppers, even worn out by hours of looking for that special gift, often display more patience than humanly expected.

So, what happens to some of those wonderful folks after Christmas? Where do they disappear to? Do they no longer worry about being on Santa’s “naughty” list?

It’s difficult to account for the transformation. For some, the change takes place the day after Christmas when they go to the malls to return some “white elephant,” and then discover the malls are jammed.

That’s when they change into Kathy Bates (as Evelyn Couch) in that scene from the movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes.” She’d been patiently waiting for a parking spot to open up. Before she could pull in, two women cut her off and laughed at her. Unlike the rest of us in this type of situation, Bates got her revenge.

After hearing about the collision, her husband (Gailard Sartain as Ed Couch) said, “What I can’t understand is how you can hit someone six times by accident.”

OK, I admit I cheered Bates on. But, in real life, it’d be an excellent gift if the good vibes we feel now were to continue well past the holidays.

There is an effort to do just that. Here is one way your acts of kindness can make a difference thru the following link:

Movie clip: “Fried Green Tomatoes”  – Kathy Bates (as Evelyn Couch) is waiting on a parking spot.  

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider,, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Video clip: Andy Williams singing “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”   

Main photo – Christmas – giving – Santa Claus talking with a Native American girl before giving her a Christmas gift at a Toys for Tots giveaway at the Havasupai village on the floor of the Grand Canyon (Dec. 16, 2009). The US Marine Corps reserve squadron, based at Edwards Air Force Base north of Los Angeles, has flown toys to the village’s children for Christmas for the past 14 years.

Photo – Christmas – homeless veterans – Boston (Dec. 25, 2010), U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Savage, executive officer of USS Constitution, serves juice and chats with a veteran at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans during a Christmas dinner visit.,_executive_officer_of_USS_Constitution,_serves_Juice_and_chats_to_a_veteran_at_the_New_England_.jpg

  1. I followed the link and loved reading about the 26 Acts of Kindness that people are doing. What a beautiful way to honor those lost and create a positive moving forward. Can you imagine if this is how everyone focused their energy?!
    This just shows that there’s a Santa in all of us.

  2. A couple weeks ago we tried to go out for breakfast on a Sunday. We waited patiently for a parking space. A young woman drove around the back to take it but my husband backed right into it. She gave us a bunch of crap despite the fact that we were there long before her. I guess whipping around the back and putting a turn signal on takes you to the front of the line. We went into the restaurant only to find out the wait was over an hour. We are not that patient so we left. She was still in the parking lot yelling at us. It soured me for a good portion of the day. I had to let the bad feelings go but it was hard.

    1. Admittedly, some don’t get the memo, Kate. Their attitude is bad ALL year round. Sorry you had that experience. That would be a downer for me as well. Glad you were able to set it aside.

  3. I agree, why can’t people just be kinder to each other all year long? It really doesn’t take much effort, but the rewards are priceless. Just a simple smile can do wonders for another person’s well-being. I was raised to be this way following my dad’s example and my kids are following in my footsteps.

    1. That’s true for me as well, Darla. I’m amazed at the great attitude some have who have been thru horrible things. Where does that grace and love come from? A few others, who’ve had a bad day, go out of their way to make others miserable or angry. Fortunately, I’ve seen far more good in people than the opposite.

    1. It was a wonderful family get together, Arindam. I hope you and your family are enjoying the holidays. I wish you a bright and prosperous New Year – especially with your new book. 🙂

  4. I don’t know where the nice people disappear to after Christmas, Judy. But I’d forgotten about that scene in the movie, and loved watching it.

    1. That scene in “Fried Green Tomatoes” is classic. Thanks, Charles. I just loved it.
      On Christmas Day, in a “Peanuts Classics” comic (aka ‘reruns’), Charlie Brown is telling Lucy that he’d like people to be kind to each other all year round. Lucy: “What are you some kind of fanataic or something?” (Made me laugh.)

  5. Kathy Bates is so talented. This scene–compared to scenes in MISERY–show her scope.
    I think about this blog, Judy, and compare it with the “No Man’s Land” truce. This post is the “Every Man’s Land” post. I love your writing, Judy.

    1. Kathy Bates’ role in “Misery” was downright scary. In “Fried Green Tomatoes,” she was a milquetoast up until that parking lot scene. I loved that.
      Thank you for the compliment, Marilyn. You’ve made my day – er, that is – year. I also love your writing – very heartfelt.

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