According to the song, this is the most wonderful time of the year what with the parties for hosting and marshmallows for roasting and all. But for a 26-year-old woman from California who doesn't have a family to swap presents with, the holidays were shaping up to be pretty grim. Well, that is until she decided to post a Craigslist ad offering to rent a mom and dad for the holidays.
Jackie Turner's offer to pay a couple $8 an hour to be her folks for the holidays has gone viral, and the result is, well, it's everything we want to sing about this time of year.
Turner has had has so many offers, she had to shut down her Craigslist ad. She's on national media telling her story of growing up as an abused kid who ended up fending for herself on the streets and spent a stint in jail before turning her life around and going back to school. She's pulling a 4.0 and on her way to making something of herself.
Turner is going to spend the holidays not with a family she's renting out but with a group of the kind folks who responded to her ad, all together as one giant makeshift family.
A happy ending?
At least, I'm hoping it isn't the end of this story. The way people have responded to Turner's appeal for some human comfort on the holidays has made me hopeful that people will look around their own communities for folks like her, folks who don't have anyone to share their holidays.
Wouldn't it make this heartwarming story all the more incredible if people actually took the sentiment and ran with it? If people like Turner didn't have to turn to Craigslist to find a family because families simply appeared?
More From The Stir: Mom Finally Reunited With Kidnapped Daughter After 44 Years Apart
I think a lot of us figure we have it covered because we tend to be more charitable around this time of year. You might drop some stuff off at the homeless shelter or even swing by the soup kitchen to serve meals on Christmas morning while the kids are still in bed.
That's important, don't get me wrong.
But the truth is there are many people who fall through the cracks on holidays because, like Jackie Turner, they simply don't have a family. They aren't homeless. They are fortunate enough not to need to visit the soup kitchen.
They're just alone.
And we don't have to have a ton of money to share what it is people really want on the holidays: someone to give them a hug and ask how they're doing (and really want to know the answer).
As Turner said in her ad:
I am looking to rent a mom and dad who can give me attention and make me feel like the light of their life just for a couple of days because I really need it.
We love to gripe about our families, and no more so than at the holidays, but her words really put in perspective how lucky we are to HAVE families to complain about, don't they?
So why not share them?
Look around your neighborhood. Do you know an elderly widow who will wake up on Christmas to an empty house? Invite her over for dinner. Know a single lady whose parents don't live nearby? Ask if she's interested in coming over to make cookies on Christmas Eve.
Think about the people at work. Is that single guy two cubicles over really going to watch basketball ALONE on Christmas? Your TV will be on, why not invite him over?
Not so sure about inviting people you don't know all that well in to your home for the holiday? That's smart, but that doesn't mean you can't share your family with people who would love to have one.
Check with your local senior citizens group to find out if they know who will be alone on the holiday, and make a point to dress the kids up after presents are opened to make a few stops around town with plates of cookies and big smiles.
Ask your local community center or church if they hold a get-together for folks alone on the holidays, and make a point to swing by ... preferably with food in hand.
The greatest gift you give this holiday might not cost you anything more than your time.
Who shares your holidays?
Image via News10