The music industry would have us believe that romantic love is what it is all about with Tony Bennett singing “ It’s that time of year when the world falls in love…”
There are years when the typical holiday movie are not the best inspiration. Sometimes it is the people who serve us unseen are the ones to inspire us to make the most of holidays when we cannot be with loved ones, buy the gifts we would love to share with our peeps, or even have the weather that most reminds us of Christmas.
I have often written in my newsletters about my Italian grandmother and as the holidays approach, she is once again in my thoughts as someone who taught me to love not just my family, but the people we don’t see. My grandmother was left a widow at the age of 34 with four children, a fourth grade education, and no life insurance. She had never worked outside the house and didn’t speak English. She got the only work she could, in a candy factory. Of course it was an Italian candy company, Barricini Chocolates.
As a child, I never thought about the actual work my grandmother did of standing on an assembly line eight hours a day, five days a week for almost thirty years. I just enjoyed the thrill of getting a big box of assorted chocolates from her at the holidays.
What was amazing was that in spite of having to take a low level blue color job at the age of 37, she never complained. She was actually very cheerful, so I imagine that those chocolates she helped to convect were made with as much love as her fabulous cooking was at home.
All over America, there are people serving us that we don’t see. They work in factories, they clean our hotel rooms and our homes, and they work in restaurant kitchens to name a few. Many of these people are immigrants grateful to have jobs, albeit in some cases, illegally. In the 2002 film, Dirty Pretty Things, a hotel maid talks about the people like her that no one sees. What we now know statistically is that the people most at risk for communicable illnesses ( after the obese and elderly) such as virulent viruses, are the working class.
At this time of year, there is much talk about the Christmas spirit and handling our stress while preparing for the holidays. My message for this holiday season is to spread love not just to your family and friends but take the time and connect with the people who serve you in restaurants behind the scenes, department stores, hotels, etc and bless the invisible people who made all the things that allow your car to function, who made your favorite cut of meats and fish, and even the refinement of ingredients like flour, for home baked goods.
Let’s remember to bless the invisible people who serve and make our lives work every day doing mundane tasks that would drive most of us insane if we had to do them for even a week. Take that extra second to spread it in the most unlikely places and direct a loving intention through your eyes to those who are visible like the valet guy… wearing a mask all day, your waiter… wearing a mask all day, the grocery clerk, … you get my drift. Working in the public service industry right now can be brutal.
Yes, this is the season of love. Making a connection to everyone, the food you eat, and most importantly to yourself will most definitely create a change in how we do this season. Enjoy the holidays, Italian style by spreading love through your attention, appreciation, and the twinkle in your eyes. Just like in the film It’s a Wonderful Life, in the darkest of times, a wonderful life is possible when we make the lives of others wonder filled.
Happy, joy filled Holidays!