One of the side benefits of the holidays is the opportunity to develop greater patience. You know….standing in lines, waiting for help, more traffic than usual. It can either be a trying, stressful time or it can be a time to develop patience and kindness. I remind myself of this whenever I realize I didn’t allow enough time for everything I wanted to get done, and every task is taking longer than I might have hoped.

When we were moving from our house, I ran to the store to pick up some cold drinks for the movers and a cappuccino for my husband. Ahead of me in the coffee line, a gentleman had just purchased about 12 different holiday coffee drinks. Apparently, friends and family were celebrating together over cups of specially flavored coffees. I thought to myself, “I could drive a few miles to another coffee store, or I could wait here in line.” Sleep deprived and a bit weary, I decided it would be easier to simply wait, and so I did.

I joked around with the man ahead of me and his friend, laughing about how much life has changed since we were younger, that we now find ourselves waiting around for specialty coffee drinks. We reminisced about $.25 cups of coffee (I am dating myself now aren’t I?) and bottomless pots of coffee at restaurants. Waiting was not difficult at all. It was an opportunity to remember, tease, and enjoy life with others. The barista’s hands flew and the time passed rather quickly. Before the guys left, they bought me my cup of coffee.

Making someone smile is a nice practice I have discovered, particularly when waiting in lines. And there is no better time to engage this practice than during the holidays. So next time you are standing in a long line, stuck in traffic, or waiting to be helped, you might consider sharing smiles with some tired, stressed out folks who might very much appreciate your gift of holiday cheer.