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.