WITH THE HOLIDAYS upon us, here’s your opportunity to prove the spirit of Christmas is alive. Today, commit at least one random act of senseless kindness. Many acts don’t even have to cost you anything.

The idea of doing an act of human kindness was started in the early 1990s by Bakersfield College, in Bakersfield, Calif., by professor Charles Wall. Doing nice things for others makes us feel better about ourselves.

“It boosts our self-esteem and people often report getting a feeling of euphoria from doing it. It might even restore our faith in human beings,” said Wall. Many people are motivated to do acts of kindness year-round.

Christmastime is a good time for everyone to put things into the proper perspective. This is a time for love, forgiveness, joy, caring, sharing, warmth, light, grace and peace.

You cannot wrap these gifts in pretty paper, but they are gifts you can give yourself as you enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays.

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SANTA RECEIVED a letter recently from David Chartrand. Chartrand is the father of a 5-year-old boy who is anxiously awaiting Santa’s visit Christmas Eve.

Because it wasn’t a typical letter, Santa stopped working for a few minutes while he shared it with Mrs. Claus.

“This is all I want for Christmas:

“Santa, let my little boy grow up still believing that he has the funniest dad in the neighborhood. Give him many close friends, boys and girls. May they fill his days with adventure, security and dirty fingernails. Leave his mom and me some magic dust that will keep him just the size he is now. We’d just as soon he stayed 5 years old and 3 feet, 4 inches tall. If he must grow up, Santa, never let him be sent into war.

“His mother and I love our country, but we love our 5-year-old more. While you’re at it, give our world leaders a copy of “The Killer Angels,” Michael Shaara’s retelling of the battle of Gettysburg. May it remind them that too many moms and dads have wept at Christmas for soldiers who died in battles that needn’t have been fought. Let our house always be filled with slamming doors and toilet seats, which are the official sounds of little boys. Break it to him gently, Santa, that his dad won’t always be able to carry him to bed at night or brush his teeth for him. Teach him courage in the face of such change. Let him understand that no matter how nice you are to everyone, the world will sometimes break your heart. As you know, Santa, a child’s feelings are as fragile as moth wings. Let him become a piano player, soccer star or clergyman or all three; anything but a politician. Give him hunger for books, music and geography. May he be able to find Madagascar on a map without using Google.

“The kid’s a born artist, Santa, so send more crayons. May our kitchen window and refrigerator doors be ever plastered with his sketches of surreal rainbows and horses with big ears. Steer him, oh, so carefully, to that little girl destined to be his bride. Let his mother and me still be around when he walks her down the aisle. If there is a just God, let her daddy be obscenely rich. Grant him a heart that will cherish what his parents did right and forgive us the mistakes we surely will have made over a lifetime of raising him. While you’re flying around the heavens, Santa, make sure God has heard our prayer for this child; lead our little boy not into temptation, deliver him from evil. Be careful out there, Santa. It’s a dangerous world. And close the flue on your way up.”