Ashley Hunter is a mom, teacher, and community supporter who loves who she is and where she lives.

Ashley Hunter

Ashley Hunter

What are you thinking of giving this holiday season?

For some, the question is easy. For others with financial hardships or illnesses, or personal loss, things seem much more complicated. Decision fatigue has us all in a bind, and Christmas shopping looks very different this year.

Whatever you are thinking of doing or not doing, maybe the offering of kind words and care can help steer you in the right direction.

My family and I were at Hobby Lobby. Christmas decorations had just gone up, and my two boys were walking around here and there looking at all the colorful and happy items that customers were picking through to decorate their homes for the upcoming holidays.

I was very pregnant with our third baby, in pain from the walking, and trying to maneuver my way through all the people and keeping the two boys in control. Although my husband was there to help, nothing seemed to put my mind at ease. With pregnancy hormones running through my brain, I felt like I was walking around in a cloudy sea of people becoming annoyed with me running around trying to wrestle my kids into submission. Before I was about to break down in tears next to the hanging garland, an older woman approached me holding some Christmas craft items.

She looked at my two boys running the other way towards their father and smiled.

“Are those your two boys?” she asked. My heart leapt up into my throat as I immediately felt as though she were about to chastise me for letting them run around like that. “Yes,” I replied shamefully, ready for the snarky or direct comment she was about to say.

“They are so cute,” she remarked with a delighted smile on her face. I was taken aback. She didn’t even have a hint of sarcasm in her voice. “Thank you,” I said.

“You know,” she continued, “those boys are so well behaved. I can really tell you’re doing a great job with them.”

I got choked up. “Thank you,” I nearly whispered. “We try hard.”

“I can see that,” she said. “Keep it up.”

I didn’t know what to say after that. I smiled, said “thank you’” a couple of times, and then walked ahead to join my boys. My husband looked at me and smiled in confirmation.

I was so thankful for her kind words. Sometimes, with all we’ve been through so far this year, it’s hard to find things to be thankful for.

But, maybe that’s what kind words are for; to give us something to be thankful for when times seem particularly difficult. I hope we can try to find time to give the gift of kind words this year.

Also, I hope that whatever you’ve been through, or are going through, whether good or bad, with ruined plans or not, that you have a great Thanksgiving.

Ashley Hunter is a mom, teacher, and community supporter who loves who she is and where she lives. If you have ideas that you would like to share with Hunter, you may email suggestions to

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