It’s been a difficult and very unsettling year for many of us, unfortunately. Daily living has become more complex than ever before with days filled with worry, doubt, anxiety and uncertainty on many different levels.
It often seems like the world around us is crumbling down. Our world is filled with war, terrorism, hate, racism and injustice. The economy continues it’s rapid down slide and many have been laid-off and are now facing the scariness of unemployment; people have lost their homes, investments, retirement funds and savings.
There are so many people that have been out of work for some time and are now facing the difficulty of finding employment in the worse economic times I can remember. Those who are blessed to have a secure job should consider themselves extremely fortunate, although many are facing having their hours cut and a decrease in their pay, benefits and other compensations. The cost of living keeps rising at an uncontrollable and alarming rate. Food, housing, health insurance, travel, simple entertainment and the list goes on are close to being unaffordable for many. Now with another Holiday season upon us, a new set of pressures, anxiety and worry are added to our already challenging lives.
The more I reflected on this, the more I became conscious that many of these pressures we put on ourselves during the Holiday season are truly unnecessary and avoidable. We are now living in such an overly “material world,” we have been totally brainwashed to spend, spend, spend, and in most cases dangerously over spend. With all this shopping and spending going on, we have seriously lost the real meaning of the Holiday season!
Because I am always looking for the bright light, the positive spin on something bad, I have experienced a sort of holiday enlightenment. I’ve realized that through this tragic and bad economy comes some good. This year’s terrible economy has forced many of us to re-think and change our holiday traditions and with this change something good, beautiful, rewarding and special will come. Keeping the Holidays REAL will be awesome, trust me!
This year, as a direct result of the bad economy and to lessen the unnecessary pressures of the holiday season, I have spoken with family members and friends about the upcoming holiday. We’ve all agreed that the adults won’t be exchanging gifts this holiday season. We will continue to buy gifts for the kids, since this is really to whom the holiday season is so meaningful, important, magical and special. We’ve all also agreed to scale down, by buying fewer gifts and being more select about the gifts we buy the kids. While I struggle greatly at times with a bit of guilt and sadness that I am not able to blanket my family and friends with lavish gifts this year, I’ve realized that I am not alone, that I am not the only one facing this difficult holiday situation this year. We should never feel sad or guilty about having to tighten our belts and cut back on holiday traditions and gifts, for this is not the true meaning of the holiday season.
My family and friends are going to focus on the simple and more meaningful treasures, which is being together and spending quality time together. When it comes down to it, you never really remember all the gifts you have given or received throughout the years. What you do remember are the good times, the special holiday moments you’ve had with the people in your life that you love.
In regard to giving and receiving, it’s really not about what you have given someone or what someone has given you, it’s about the spirit in which you give and receive, the material object doesn’t matter if it’s done in extreme joy! Gifts should never be about how much money you have spent, that doesn’t make it a more treasured or meaningful gift. In addition, it doesn’t have to be a material gift or something store bought. Think about giving something you made if you are creative and have that kind of talent. Give something you can’t put a price tag on, like offering a family member or friend your time, some needed help. Whether its something as simple as baby sitting or helping them one weekend complete a project, like painting a room, repairing a car or working in the garden. You can also share a skill and give some guitar or cooking lessons, maybe help someone prepare their taxes or study for an exam. When you open up your mind (and heart) the possibilities are really endless.
For fun and to start a new family holiday tradition, I am going to ask my family and friends to cut out a picture of a gift they would give like to give if they just won 100 million dollars in the State lotto. We will exchange “dream gift envelopes” and since I believe our thoughts create our realities, maybe this will manifest something amazing.
In tough times it’s love that especially bonds people together. Love and spending quality time with your loved ones will never go out of fashion, it doesn’t require batteries and one size fits all. Love is the greatest gift of all and the most meaningful gift that money can’t buy. So put less attention on what really doesn’t matter and focus more attention on what does, and enjoy the best and most rewarding holiday season ever.
** Remember (as my friend Kat M. would say); Help out your community! When Shopping – Shop Locally. When possible avoid the big chain stores and help out and support small business, you will be glad you did!!! It’s a lot less stressful too…..
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