Upon arriving to work one cold, December morning, a young Marine took stock of her workplace associates’ cubicles and noticed something terribly awry…
On every desktop, as far as the eye could see, there was a small jar of Christmas Jam neatly placed, as if to say, “good morning, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!” What was this sweet concoction? Was it left the night before by some magical military elf with a CAC card? Perhaps Santa flew down on his F-18 and left an early holiday treat?
As a veteran Marine, the Sergeant had seen this before, but upon looking down was perplexed and possibly hurt to see that her desk had been passed by. What happened? Was there a run on Christmas Jam this year? Had she been mistakenly placed on the unit naughty list? Absolutely not! This servicewoman had made sure she was always on the nice list!
So, with holiday boldness, and a jam mission in mind – the Marine stood, straightened her uniform and walked down the hallway towards my husband’s office. The hallways in all units are lined with photos of the current leadership (my children swear that as they walk by Dad’s photo his eyes follow you. I believe it but I also digress).
In a very Dickensian way she appeared, much like Bob Cratchit with his query for an early departure on Christmas Eve. Taking a breath and with slight hesitation, she knocked on Ebenezer’s – I mean my husband’s – door and inquired,
“Sir, where’s my jam at?”
Before you cast judgement on what may appear to be a very Millennial moment, allow me to explain the situation a bit further. It is tradition for anyone in a position of leadership no matter the rank – whether from shop, group, company or battalion – to hand out a holiday gift of some sort. Nothing extravagant, and certainly not a mandatory thing, but quite rewarding for all involved. Cookies, candy or cake – a token of appreciation for a job well done. The worst thing when doing this however, is to mistakenly forget someone, anyone! We consider each and every person in the unit both civilian and active duty as family. To forget even one person hurts! And that Christmas, we forgot someone.
In short time, I was out grabbing a few more jars of Christmas Jam. I delivered them to the office beribboned and labeled in an attempt to make things right.
The holidays, for both civilian and military, offer a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge your staff or coworkers. A brief moment to build stronger relationship bonds with your brothers and sisters in arms. So please, don’t forget the jam.
“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.”