Secret Service Star


Christmas is a time when we try to do lots of service for those in need. What memories we have from all those good times. But, sometimes we can forget the truth that “charity begins at home”.

That’s why one of my favorite traditions of Christmas is our “Secret Service Star”. In the past, we’ve used a wooden star painted gold. When that got broken by my energetic young sons, a cardboard star covered in aluminum foil took its place. Doesn’t matter so much what the star looks like in our family anymore, it is the idea it represents. In fact, this year I just quickly drew a star on a post-it note! And it works just fine.

The important thing about the Service Star is that it initiates a very fun and good-feeling game of “you’re it!”. You can only hang on to the star for an hour if you get tagged. And how you get tagged is that the possessor of the star does a good deed for you, in secret, and leaves the star in its place.

I started off the game this year by doing my son Ammon’s chore: unloading the dishwasher. Then I left the empty dishwasher open with the post-it note star on the rack. Ammon noticed it, was surprised and delighted to have his chore done, and went quietly and secretly made Louisa’s bed, leaving the star on her pillow. Louisa was now “it” and got dressed to go out in the snow and help Emily to do a task she didn’t want to do. The star did its magic and again transferred to a new owner. And around and around it goes, making us all feel happier and more thoughtful of each other!

Eventually someone did a secret service for my grown son Mark when he came home to visit. Since he had to pass it on quickly and didn’t have much time, he brought a big cool glass of water to my husband at his desk . . . along with the Service Star! And he remarked quietly to me, “I need to be nicer.”

Around and around this star goes, making everyone a littler kinder, providing plenty of smiles and making Christmas come alive at our house.

“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” -Dale Evans Rogers

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