I cannot speak for my co-writers, but often it can seem like our writings go unnoticed as we write once, some of us twice, a week for the East Tennessean.

Sometimes we write lightheartedly and sometimes more seriously, but each week we are investing our time and ability to write a solid article. If it weren’t for my friend calling me every other week to chat about an article of mine he had read or the occasional Facebook argument on my more controversial articles, I would have no idea anyone read my work besides my editors. I am not saying my co-writers or I need recognition for our work; that’s not why we do this.

I use my co-writers and myself not as a focal point but as an example to illustrate a bigger picture. What I’m saying is feel free to reach out to people. Maybe even have a conversation with them, whether it’s a writer, a friend or a family member.Too often as a society we lack conversation with each other and fail to praise others around us for hard or appreciated work, whatever that may be.

Although Christmas is still a month away, it is beginning to manifest itself in stores and becoming that time of year where people go out of their way to be kind and talk with each other. It actually seems to be the only time of year where people hold the door for one another and consistently say thank you or where people look up from their phones to talk with a stranger, even if it is as simple as “Happy Holidays.”

During the holiday season, it’s almost impossible to escape interaction with others, whether it’s a department store employee asking you if you need help or the Salvation Army asking you to make a donation. Of course, variations of this behavior can be found outside of the holiday season, but rarely do we see it, make note of it, or commend it.

Part of what makes the holiday season so merry is that behind the commercialization and pressure to buy gifts, there is this sense of community and genuineness that cannot be bought or fabricated in any other way. Videos begin to surface of people paying for others’ groceries, buying the homeless winter clothe, and strangers helping others in random acts of kindness. Something about the holiday season brings out this sense of togetherness and community that lays dormant throughout the rest of the year that we could use any given time of the year.

I’m not going to discuss the philosophy of why people act out of kindness or what motivates our actions, but we can and should carry this loving attitude not just through the holiday season but throughout the year.

Our lives are so made up of routines that it can be difficult to break free from our mindless motions, but I challenge you to think back to this article in the months to come and act out of love and kindness for your neighbors. Be the person that hold the door, says thank you, or pays for another’s coffee or grocery bill. Don’t be afraid to make conversation and acknowledge the work and acts of others that you appreciate.