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Last month, numerous outlets reported on a London-based restaurant, Shish, whose Muslim owner was opening its doors on Christmas to the homeless and elderly. The signage hanging outside the store read, "No one eats alone on a Christmas Day!"
It makes total sense that this was considered newsworthy. Nice things go viral, after all, and there's a considerable paucity of nice things that float through our feeds. The mere fact that this was considered remarkable was somewhat depressing to me, though. My first thought was, why is this treated as some shocking phenomenon? Is this the extent of our desensitization—that we're so unaccustomed to seeing kindness play out in this way that we treat it as news? But here we are, living in a time wherein gestures like these are considered rare and, thus, exceptional.
You obviously don’t have to be a restaurant owner to weave this philosophy into the way you approach Christmas. I'm sure you know people in your own life who don’t have communities of their own to celebrate the holidays with, even if they’d like to. I'd say this is the philosophy underpinning our 30 Days of Thoughtful Giving—to be mindful about the privileges you take for granted in your own life, to act on that awareness, and to thread this kindness year-round. It's not that hard. At the risk of sounding like a cornball, think of how you could welcome people outside your blood family into your home and to a meal tonight. Imagine how to do this in the least self-congratulatory way possible, and how to not make this exercise about yourself—how to ground this in selflessness, not selfishness. I’m hoping that, if something like what Shish does for its patrons happens next year, it’s not news.
Who are you eating your Christmas meal with? Let us know in the comments.