Soul-soothing stories have been hard to come by in recent days. I’m happy to see this one, from boston.com: “Why Nova Scotia Gives Boston Its Christmas Tree for Free Every Year.” It’s a story about gratitude and being a good neighbor.
Although I live not too far from Boston, I hadn’t heard about the wonderful Christmas tree tradition until a visit to Halifax about fifteen years ago. I was a tourist, heading up to incomparable Cape Breton Island. I stopped enroute in Halifax, where my cousin and his family gave me a quick tour of their tidy, friendly city. They showed me a memorial to the Halifax explosion. The what?
That’s when I learned about the terrible explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax harbor in December 1917. The explosion killed two thousand people, injured 9000, and leveled part of the city. A catastrophe, by any measure.
First city to send relief: Boston. Say what you will about Mayor Curley, but he and the people of Boston rose to this occasion.
The people of Halifax sent Boston a Christmas tree the following year as a gesture of gratitude. In the 1970s, they made it an annual gift. When you go to Boston Common at Christmastime, that’s a Nova Scotia tree all decked out for you.
The boston.com story clued me in to the @TreeforBoston Twitter account, filled with photos of the tree as it’s being delivered and welcomed. Best set of tweets you’ll see all day, I’ll wager. You’re welcome.
I don’t know who came up with the notion of #GivingTuesday as a way to follow Cyber Monday and Black Friday and (remember this one?) Thanksgiving, but it’s a fine idea. For 2016, Giving Tuesday will fall on November 29.
Over at Leaven for the Loaf last year, I offered some ideas for ways to give. I’ve edited that post to update the links to likely projects and organizations. I hope you’ll share your own ideas with me.
I’m told that #GivingTuesday is a kickoff to the charitable season. Thanks for the clear border, guys, but where I live – amid people of modest means whose time is the greatest gift they have to offer – giving isn’t a seasonal thing. Still, this recently-minted hashtagged holiday sparks a few ideas. Some involve money, others involve time, and each has special meaning for me. While many of these suggestions are New Hampshire-based, similar opportunities exist wherever you live.
I share this every Veterans Day. I’ll never understand why these words haven’t gained more currency. Possibly it’s because they didn’t show up in a meme. They were part of an article in The American Spectator in February 2011. Ben Stein wrote this, and as the daughter and mother of veterans, I owe him thanks for his expression of gratitude.
What title of nobility was ever as great as, simply, “American”? What wild dream of my ancestors in Czarist Russia could compare with what I have now, how I live now? Who makes it possible? The men and women who fight our wars, who have lost legs, who have lost lives, who have lost their minds to the cruelty of war. God bless them day in and day out.