Giving 100 Squares for Christmas

Ryan at Oktober5 gave me a gift for Christmas—he’s guest posting today so I would have at least one thing to be grateful for.  He’s giving with a goal to give 100 squares for Christmas. Today you can read his witty and insightful style here, but at Oktober 5 you can see more writing, photographs and design. Visit him here and there, and shower him with comments so he might come back again. – TJ

Santa Claus is coming to town, and that can only mean one of two things. One, you’ve been naughty and you’re going to get nothing but coal; or two, you’ve been good and you’re going to get exactly what you deserve.

It’s a nice feeling to get a gift that we really deserve. Michael Phelps received 8 Olympic gold medals, and most would say he  deserved them. He seemed to feel happy about it, and for good reason, too–he worked hard for them.

Photo coutersy of Ryan at Oktober5

Christmas is a wonderfully fantastic season. Kids work hard all year trying to be as good as possible so as to not taint their Christmas morning hopes. Adults, especially parents, adopt a different perspective. We like to give. It is more work than getting, but the reward is sure and guaranteed to be deserved. We work in order to give, and in giving discover a renewed sense of spirit, self-worth, gratitude and joy.

Giving feels good. This year I decided to create a 100 Squares for Christmas wall. The idea was that people could ask for a gift, be it something small like a link to their page, or something large like a guest post. That was only half the idea; the other half was that I would feel exceptionally good about myself. I wanted my 8 gold medals, my well-deserved feeling of joy for doing my part to give whatever I had to give.

My expectation for this project was simply this: That a hundred people if not more would sign up, I would fulfill their simple need, they’d be happy, I’d be happy, and somewhere in the process I would become unbelievably famous and wealthy.

If you haven’t already learned this lesson, however, you need to know that giving is not about recognition or monetary gain. Giving is about love. Remember that guaranteed reward from giving that I mentioned? Well, it’s only guaranteed if done in love.

When I started this project, I expected a showering of love from the heavens for being so generous. I was wrong. Love doesn’t come from giving; giving comes from love. We show love by giving, and love shown in sincerity is rewarded.

My reward came only as I saw the love in what I was doing. The response I got from my idea was completely positive. Some were even envious and created similar walls of their own. I gained my reward when I could see that what I was doing was helping others feel a similar sense of the Christmas spirit. As Abraham Lincoln said, “When I do good, I feel good.”

Not as many people as I had hoped signed up for a square. Even fewer asked for anything more than a link. However, I received exactly what I deserved, which happened to also be the thing I wanted: happiness.


  1. Sarah
    Dec 22, 2008

    Giving does feel good. I’ve noticed since I became a mother, and even since I got married, that the joy of Christmas has changed for me. It’s grown. I love getting and making presents for these 2 boys (men) in my life. And the excitement that’s on their faces when they get the present, that’s just one more reason for me to smile.

    So you must’ve been good this year, Ryan, because Santa brought you exactly what you deserved. 🙂

  2. The 100 squares for Christmas is a unique idea. Unique ideas are valuable in the blogosphere… when they’re good ones.

  3. Rebecca
    Dec 22, 2008

    It’s a great idea! Giving truly makes us better, if not fabulously wealthy and famous. =)

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