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The Other Christmas Spirit

by laurenzoren


As thousands of Neopians from Tyrannia to the Lost Desert scurry from shop to shop searching for Candy Canes, Stockings, and Seasonal Pudding, it is easy to get lost in the frantic holiday shuffle. I admit, visiting the Advent Calendar every morning is the highlight of my day--and I can’t help but search for that perfect gift in every shop I enter! But let’s face it--it’s not the fancy presents and Advent Calendar handouts that make Christmas in Neopia special. Rather, it’s the power of the whole community to help each other out, spread happiness, and remind everyone what it is that makes Neopia so great!

The best way to spread holiday cheer is by reaching out to others. When I say others, I don’t just mean your two best neofriends, the head of your guild, and that guy who is auctioning off the Plushie Paint Brush that you’re dying to have. I mean everyone. Reach out to people you’ve never met before: the owner of a pet you’ve been admiring, someone who posts on a chat board you frequent, even someone who donates an item to the money tree. You can also reach out to people you already know but have lost touch with, like that girl who quit your guild and started a new one that everyone joined even though you send an email to the whole guild telling them not to because she is like such a spy and her guild is like so not as good as yours, or OMG that guy who like totally spammed your chat board in the Games Chat and you told all your neofriends and they’re all like totally mad at him too. Well, I think you know the people I’m talking about. And finally, of course, reach out to your friends. After all, they’ve been so kind to you all year—let them know how much you care about them!

So how exactly do you go about spreading cheer without giving away faeries, books and other pricy tokens of friendship? As they say, “words speak louder than codestones”. Yes, ok, I made that up. But they should say it, because a kind word is infinitely more thoughtful--and appreciated--than even the most finely-wrapped Seasonal Pudding. Compliment people on their user lookup, pets, artwork, gallery, or trophies. Go to your favorite Neoboard and stand up for someone who is under attack for asking a silly question. Vote in the Beauty Contest. Send neomails to old friends asking how they’re doing. Hey, why not even drop by Jhudora’s Cloud and wish her a happy holiday! A little kindness can go a long way.

You can also make a huge difference just by spending your most valuable commodity: time! A few minutes spent caring for sick pets can really brighten their day; perhaps you could write get-well letters or even share some of those Neggitus Injections you’ve been hoarding in your Safety Deposit Box. Or you can help the Soup Faerie ladle out her tasty brew, visit (and feed!) the Kadoaties in the Kadoatery, give advice to a friend, or even play with your pets!

Of course, there’s no harm in giving gifts. But rather than focusing all your gift-giving efforts on the same few neofriends every year, why not spread the love? There are tons of ways to make a little holiday budget go a long way and to make a big budget have an equally big impact. The key is to combine all different types of presents, especially the non-physical types I just described. However, for some exceedingly generous Neopians, Christmas just isn’t complete without a gift exchange. But there’s no need to spend thousands of neopoints on each friend when you send them a kind neomail along with their gift to brighten the holiday! Instead, use those leftover neopoints to make sure everyone in Neopia has a Christmas as great as yours. Even if you’re still a Junior Saver at the National Neopian Bank, there are a bunch of ways you can do your part to make this Christmas the best yet.

One great way to show others how much you care without breaking the bank is by devoting an entire week to the holiday spirit. Every day, collect your bank interest and play your favorite games, and make note of how many neopoints you earn each time. Visit your favorite daily freebies, such as Tombola, the Giant Omelette, and the Healing Springs, and record what you get. At the end of the week, calculate the total value of all the neopoints and items you’ve received. You may be surprised how much you earn over the course of a week without spending a thing!

If you’d like, you can use this money to buy gifts for your friends (and, of course, for your pets!) However, a quick trip to the pound should remind you that not all pets are fortunate enough to have a great owner like you. As I write this, the weather page reveals that it is -24 degrees C in Neopia (-10 degrees F). That’s pretty cold! Think how many pets might like a warm neohome, a cozy fireplace, and a cup of hot borovan this Christmas. If you want, you can use those points you earned over the week to adopt a pet, feed it, and play with it until you can find it a good home. Or, you could buy a bunch of scarves (only 50 neopoints each!) and donate them to the Money Tree so that other pets can stay warm. Throw some coins in the wishing well, a few more under the money tree, and you’ll return home with a warm glow!

Guilds can also get involved. Many guilds have donation shops where members can donate to the guild; why not have a way for the guild to make contributions to help make Neopia a better place? Your guild can auction off items—a Christmas Paint Brush, for example—and use the money you earn to help a pet in the pound. Or, everyone in the guild could spend a week saving money like I described above, and then collectively buy presents for others. Even having guild Secret Santas can be a great way to make new friends and build a sense of community—and after all, isn’t that what Christmas in Neopia is all about?

There are all kinds of ways to make sure everyone in Neopia has a great Christmas. Just use your imagination, and remember: all gifts are good gifts. Well, except for the Chia Print Chair. That’s just poor taste. : )

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