This has always been my favorite holiday. No gifts, no guilt, no doctrine.

For me, the holiday celebrates people who contribute with no expectation of anything in return. Online, the rules are no different. There are plenty of people typing as fast they can, all in expectation of what they’ll get in return for that link or that shoutout or that flame. And then there are the superstars, the folks who have found a great platform for generosity.

Why be generous?

Why go out of your way for someone who can’t possibly pay you back?

I hope the answer is obvious. It is to me. The benefit is in the fact that they can’t pay you back. The opportunity to instruct or assist when you can gain nothing in return is priceless. It creates meaning and momentum and structure.

If you’ve been reading my blog this year, thanks for giving me the chance to teach.

If you’ve been helping at triiibes or Squidoo or on Twitter or on your blog or your social network of choice, and doing it without regard for repayment, thanks. We appreciate it more than you know.

And if you’ve dedicated your life to helping real people in real need, not just doing it when it’s convenient, then you have my deepest thanks. It’s not easy and it’s not always fun, but it’s vitally important and it matters.

Thank you.