This was originally posted in November 2019. It resonates just as much now as we close out 2021.
I got a call from THE ELF ON THE SHELF yesterday. The conversation went something like this:
Elf: Hi. Listen, I’m kind of in a hurry, so I’m hoping you can help me get something out to remind people of what’s important.
Me: Ok, what’s on your mind?
Elf: Well, let’s just say that lately everywhere I look there seems to be a lot more naughty than nice. People are rude; smiles are few and far between, and taking the time to help one another seems to be out of style! I’m just exhausted!
Me: What happened?
Elf: Well, I was up high on a shelf at the grocery store and constantly I saw people racing to get in front of others in the checkout line. Then I hung out at the new office building downtown (where there’s a shelf at the welcome desk with a great view), and I watched the people hurrying and purposely closing the elevator doors before anyone else could get in! And at night I was peeking around the merlot wines at your favorite restaurant, and I was really surprised to hear constant laughter as people made fun of other people as they walked by. I mean, seriously? What’s happened to NICE?
Just do this for me. And by the way … rather than your offering ‘9 steps’ or ‘4 tips’ or even ‘2 sure-fire ways’ to reduce stress this holiday season. Tell people to follow this advice and watch the changes.
I couldn’t help smiling. This guy made a lot of sense. And so I promised Elf that I would send out a memo. So, here goes:
MEMO TO EVERYONE!
From: Everyone Else
Date: Today and Every day
Subject: BE NICE
It has come to my attention that there has been a slacking off on BEING NICE. Somehow common courtesy has been pushed aside to make room for iPhones, multitasking, and always being in a hurry. This has caused a lot of hurt feelings and negative attitudes.
As a result, I am encouraging all people to slow down and take some time to be considerate and kind to each other. YOU be the one who smiles more often and treats people the way that you want to be treated.
Studies have shown that when people include random acts of kindness in their day, it gives the brain a serotonin boost and results in a feeling of well being and satisfaction. The doer feels great, and the recipient is overcome with a ‘pay-it-forward’ attitude. The entire atmosphere changes.
Put this suggestion into effect immediately and make it a prominent part of your daily routine. It will result in stronger friendships, more enjoyable activities and workplaces and may even increase your gifts at Holiday Time.
This is just a hint from someone in the know.
Thanks for your cooperation,
The Elf on the Shelf
Have a great Holiday Season regardless of how you celebrate. Just be sure that whatever you are doing and whomever you are with, remember to BE NICE.
Do it for yourself – and for the Elf.
P.S. If you want to share some ‘nice’ that either you’ve done or seen, send me a note. I’ll make sure it gets to the Elf.
Episode 4 focuses on being a lifelong learner.
What if I told you that you can take noncredit courses on university campuses with no assignments or grades?
In my conversation with retired Vanderbilt University Professor Dr. Ed Friedman, we talk about resources for retirees who love learning. Whether you want to be the student or the teacher, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) offers intellectually stimulating ways to fill your days in retirement as well as a chance to meet people with similar interests.
About our Episode Guest
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC