The Other Christmas Spirit
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
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. : )