thanks a latte – spread holiday cheer with

Thanks a Latte

I keep a handful of Starbucks gift cards in my purse during the holidays – the reason why may surprise you.

One of my odd jobs in high school was that of one of Santa’s elves at the local shopping mall. I had the pleasure of calming screaming children and selling ridiculously expensive photos of said screaming children. Given the nature of the job, Santa’s elves don’t exactly get to take Christmas Eve off, which happens to be the day when the crazies wait to come out. If you’re thinking about waiting until Christmas Eve to take your children to visit Santa, don’t. Take it from the expert – the lines will be long, the children will be cranky and the parents will have long lost their Christmas spirit.

My last year as an elf culminated in a Christmas Eve riot of several mothers, who had all waited until the very last minute to take their kids to see Santa, banding together to try and keep us working long after the entire mall had closed. After an already exhausting day full of screaming children, we were called every name in the book and accused of ruining their children’s Christmas for cutting off the line at the end of the night.

A complete stranger happened to be walking by and witnessed the drama unfold. Ten minutes later, she returned with a bag filled to the brim with items from Bath and Body Works for all of the elves to take home and relax at the end of the day. Almost 15 years later I still remember that kind woman and her selfless act of spreading holiday cheer.

Several years ago, in the spirit of giving back, I started stocking my purse with a handful of $5 Starbucks gift cards during the holidays. Each year I pass them on to strangers who have gone above and beyond to help me out or who may be in need of a small act of kindness to restore their holiday spirits.

Thanks a Latte

Some of my favorite recipients over the years:

  • Our UPS man who didn’t arrive until almost 9pm after a full day of delivering presents and still took the time to place my packages on our countertop with a smile.
  • The mother flying solo with three small children under the age of 5 on Christmas Eve. I was stressed that day, I can only imagine filling her shoes.
  • The kind girls who kept their restaurant open just as it was time to close so that this displaced Texan could still enjoy a BBQ dinner.
  • Customer service reps who remain completely calm while getting reamed by customers for situations beyond their control.

How do you spread holiday cheer? We’d love to hear! If you take nothing else from this, please remember that no good can come of taking your child to see Santa on Christmas Eve and that a small gesture of kindness can impact someone’s outlook for years to come. Happy holidays, y’all!

Thanks a Latte