December 20, 2011
Editor’s Note: Carole Townsend, a correspondent for the Daily Post, is writing a blog called “Food for Thought.” It is available online at www.gwinnettdailypost.com/townsend.>
There are so many people in my life who go the extra mile to make me happy, to make my life easier throughout the year. They include everyone from my hairdresser, housekeeper, mail man (well, OK never mind. I’m being charitable), lawn service and nail lady, just to name a few. When our four children were younger and in Gwinnett schools, we also made sure to take care of their teachers at Christmas; I have the utmost respect for those who choose that profession.
At this time of year, I want very much to show these people and more – in a tangible way – how much I appreciate their hard work and dedication. I’ll be honest though, I have a hard time knowing where to draw the line when it comes to holiday tipping.
The bottom line, and I actually blurted this out in a recent interview with MSNBC about this very thing, is that you can tip yourself into the poorhouse if you’re not careful. What to do then? I would never want someone to feel slighted on my account. Throw in the uncertainty and fear that comes with this economy, and tipping becomes a real quandary.
A very wise woman told me once that, where gifts are concerned, it’s the thought and not the cost that matter. I was too young and dumb at the time to appreciate her words (she shared them nearly 30 years ago), but today, they hit home. We can’t dole out cash to everyone we’d like to , that’s true, but what about homemade offerings? Truthfully, when one of our neighbors rings our doorbell with a plate of cookies and Christmas candies, I’m like a kid at Toys ‘R Us. The gift makes me happy, and not just calorie-wise. It tells me that someone thought enough of me and my family to bake and package and deliver some sugar-laced love.
The moral of the story? Give more of your time and effort and worry less about the wallet. Do you know a couple with young children who haven’t been able to have an adult conversation since hearing, “It’s a boy?” Offer to babysit one evening while they have dinner at a restaurant with no styrofoam or plastic toys in sight. Do you know of a senior citizen who craves nothing more than time and conversation? Give it. Offer a kind word. You never know when you will change someone’s life with nothing more than that. What else is this glorious season about?
Aside from tipping with cash, how have you thanked someone for their kindness and effort throughout the year? Share with other readers.
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of the recently-released book, “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at all families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, The Erie (PA) Times and the Anniston Star, and is often a guest on radio shows nationwide.