Cheer Du Jour

A little cheer to forget your troubles, and better yet, to toast with a glass of bubbles!

A Sparkly Pink Santa Hat and Sprinkles of Holiday Magic

Sparkly Pink Santa Hat

My husband, sister-in-law and I gave ourselves an early gift yesterday. We went downtown with absolutely no agenda, except to enjoy the holiday decorations and have a completely relaxing day. Starting at the Anti-Cruelty Society, we shared some love with the dogs and cats waiting to find their new families (in case you’re looking for some cuddly company, there are many precious pets to visit). We then walked along State Street with cups of hot cocoa (loaded with marshmallows and calories), and drifted in and out of stores, gazing all the while like little kids at the shimmering lights and sparkling spheres that shone along every step. A chilly rain tried its best to dampen our spirits (no umbrella!), but I dashed into a store and picked up a pink Santa hat covered in pink sequins (who doesn’t need one of those?). It kept me warm and dry, and definitely added to the holiday fun…especially when having our obligatory glass of champagne.

Twice during our day of carefree merriment, we were gifted with heartwarming reminders to enjoy life, and to cherish family and friends. The first instance came in an unusual spot – a crowded cafeteria. Amid rows and rows of exhausted shoppers, over-stuffed shopping bags and lots of designer labels, a man sat alone. He had white hair, a white beard, and a hint of a twinkle in his eyes. You might be imagining the store Santa on his break, but you would be wrong. From the frayed fabric of his shirt, the soiled spot on his pant leg, and the well-worn shoes, it was clear this man was on hard times. Still, he sat with a smile, clearly savoring his trial-size cup of coffee and slice of pizza. While we girls slowly finished our beverages, my husband started talking with his neighbor. As we got up from the table and joined my husband, I heard the man say “keep positive and always remember that tomorrow is a new day.” We all shook his hand, feeling quite humble. Later, I learned that this gentleman had once led a “normal” life, working everyday and enjoying spending his off-hours with his wife in their home in a Chicago suburb. Then, his wife died. While he was at the funeral, his home was robbed. He lost his job, and things went down from there. While telling his tale, he didn’t complain once, and was grateful to have a warm spot to go every night. He asked my husband how he was doing, offering that sympathetic ear that instantly draws out your inner-most worries and somehow soothes them. That led to his words of comfort, and my joy at witnessing this gem of humanity.

The second helping of holiday spirit was delivered via a letter to Santa, that hadn’t quite yet made it to the official red postbox. The letter asked for some games, but ended by saying the author believed in Christmas, and it’s not about getting, it’s about giving love and happiness. Out of the mouths of babes! I posted the letter, so Santa will be sure to attend to the child’s modest request.


Leave a comment »

Free Chicago Holiday Souvenir Photo

If yfree photo oppou happen to find yourself walking along Michigan Ave during the holiday season, be sure to stop at the Walgreens free photo kiosk. It’s located between the Tribune Tower and where the Marilyn Monroe statue flashed her knickers, just north of Wacker Dr. There are two tall screens (at first glance, they look like any other advertising billboards) – one facing north and one south. Choose the direction you prefer and press the “take a photo” option on the screen. You’ll see a countdown appear, giving you a few seconds to strike a pose. If you don’t like the photo, you have a chance to try it again. When you get the perfect picture, simply enter your e-mail address and the photo will be sent to you, with a Happy Holiday greeting and snowflake background. Festive and free!

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: