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Changemakers


Showing the Love this Holiday Season

by Jen Oium

Dec. 9, 2019

by Jen Oium

As a mom to three young boys, life always seems to be a bit in disarray. As I sit here bouncing a teething baby and peering across the table at his independence-demanding brother pouring his own beloved Organic Valley Grassmilk into a bowl of cereal, I wonder if I should perhaps be reading articles on “How to Survive (insert anything here) With Littles...” instead of writing to other moms and dads.

But I believe I have indeed learned a few things about juggling #allthethings over the past few years. As we enter the demanding holiday season, here are a few good wishes and tips from a fellow mom like me—and from all of us here at Organic Valley—to you.

One thing I have chosen to do differently this year and intend to carry throughout the busy holidays is giving myself grace. Yes, giving yourself grace and showing kindness and love to both yourself and others around you may offer a little bit of that balance that comes in so few forms when you’re mid-juggle in your day-to-day tasks.

Speaking of day-to-day tasks (yeah, it probably is time to sweep the floor again), if you’re anything like me, this time of year you’re visiting your local market almost every other day stocking up on the essentials, plus extras for school treats, work parties, and gatherings with friends and family.

If you’d like a little positivity in your day, keep reading. (I promise this story time won’t be like reading your little one’s favorite book for the 700th time.)


"It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving."

– Mother Teresa


As moms frequently do, I had embarked on a trip to my local co-op to load up on holiday menu ingredients (plus enough Organic Valley dairy products to feed an army) when suddenly, the teething baby decided it was time to be done shopping. I pushed my overflowing cart to the checkout line with fussy baby securely in tow (props to my beloved Boba carrier) and was greeted by a fellow mom in line ahead of me. She must have recognized this scene from her past because without hesitation she reminded me, like so many veteran moms do: “You’ll miss this.”

Now, we all know such a comment is not much help when you’re wrestling a cart of groceries onto the belt with a baby strapped to your front. Most folks offer up that unsolicited phrase and simply go on with their day. But this encounter ended entirely differently.

This mom sensed my uneasiness that my wailing tot had drawn the attention of (what felt like) everyone in the store. She assured me one day things would be different, even easier, and that she now longs for more time with her children as little ones. She paid the cashier, took her groceries, and we parted ways.

But then, as I was digging for my wallet, I glanced up and noticed this woman had reappeared. She said she came back to help, and help she did. By extending a helping hand, she showed me genuine kindness that—more than words—reminded me to give myself grace throughout these beautifully trying years. This kind-hearted, thoughtful gesture kicked off this holiday season for me, and I will carry it with me for many years to come.

One day, without a doubt, I will pay forward this wonderful gift by offering words of comfort to another mom, and I can only hope to have the impact this woman had on me with her selfless compassion and kindness.

A young girl stands on a chair at the kitchen counter and watches her sister chop carrots. A pot of soup simmers on the stove.

The Parker daughters chop vegetables for soup together. Their family is one of Organic Valley’s family farms in Wisconsin.

Taking Action to Show the Love

If you’ve stayed with me this long, I’m hoping you’ll read on because I was feeling so inspired after this moment that I have just a few quick ideas for how you can also show the love this holiday season and possibly make someone’s day or week. (Bonus: They’re easy, because I know there isn’t always enough time in a day.)

Bring a meal or a bag of groceries to a family in need. This might be a family with a new baby, or a family that has endured a tragedy. Need some inspiration? We’ve got you covered. Our recipe page has yummy ideas for anything from breakfast through dinner and even dessert! Or share a bag of Organic Valley kid-sized milks and cheese sticks, which are always organic and made with love.

Remember to smile and say “please” and a genuine “thank you.” It really can be that simple to brighten someone’s day with a friendly smile, a look in the eye, and a few kind words.

Secretly buy someone’s coffee or meal. If you have the ability, consider paying for the next person in line’s coffee or drive-thru order. Imagine their delight when they hear their food or drink is already covered!

As you can see, these are simple and not new ideas, but sometimes we need a teensy reminder that little things can make all the difference in someone's day.

It’s up to all of us to show one another kindness, compassion, and love during this season of giving (and in all seasons). Let’s remember to take care of ourselves, and to take care of those around us. Maybe even help a mom load her groceries into the car. All in all, it’s time to be kind. ‘Tis the season!

Wishing all the busy moms and dads out there a joyful season, and at least one or two moments of peace!