The holiday season often brings out the best in people. It’s a time when we display more compassion and generosity to giving and caring for the less fortunate. However, it can also be a time that causes the most stress as we seek to find the “perfect” gift from our list of family members, the “secret Santa” holiday company event, best friends, organizations, club membership acquaintances, mail carrier… the family pet…the list goes on! Not to mention getting all the decorations up, all the baking done, attending holiday functions, etc…So then, how do you balance it all- retaining your sanity and happiness during this “wonderful time of the year?” Here are five steps to having a Good (virtuous) holiday season:
Give – Giving is often attached to a monetary value; however, giving can occur in so many different ways. Some examples would include contacting your local shelters and donating items of clothing, bedding or items in your home that are still of great value – tucked away neatly in your space-saver bag. Get your children involved as well; make holiday cards and speak with administrators of your local Children’s hospital to visit and leave a card for a child whose family had intentions on being home during the holiday season but may find themselves in a hospital room. Giving also creates an opportunity to help children truly understand and appreciate blessings, hard work, dedication and commitment parents make to ensure they (the children) have a better life than what the parent has experienced. By giving to others, you gain a return as well. It produces a feeling of happiness and a sense of accomplishment (that you were able to make a difference) no matter how great or small, in someone else’s life. Have you ever seen two toddlers, strangers to each other – just so happen to be in the same place, sharing each other’s snacks? There’s sense of accomplishment eluding from the smile across their faces. Give to others and “it” will be given to you!
Grin – In the midst of every situation, find a reason to smile or laugh. Even when that person pretends to not see you in line at Wal-Mart during the Black Friday deals. Studies have shown that smiling can create feelings of happiness, helps to reduce stress and is one of the simple pleasures of life. Think of how much an infant smiles. When you to take your little bundle of joy to its 3 month wellness check and shots have been ordered by the pediatrician, it is one the most hurtful things to witness. But once the appointment has ended, the infant sees your familiar face, words of comfort, and warm embrace. She’s then able to communicate to you, through her smile, that she appreciates your security. Remember, Black Friday is one day. A genuine smile can create a memory for a lifetime…so SMILE and show those pretty white teeth!
Be Grateful – Well, you didn’t get that last 50” flat screen TV on sale at Best Buy for $399…and you stood in line with a ticket with YOUR number. The new iPad Air advertised for $99…is all but gone. “Hugging Elmo” has given his final farewell to the holiday season prices or you simply just can’t give the specific gifts that have been requested. Give the gift of love. Seems cliché but it still works. By giving to others (as discussed above), a sense of gratitude and feeling of appreciating is obtained, realizing that your situation could be just a little worse. How can you be grateful in these times? Your family all returned from various destinations to a place you all call home, you returned to a home still standing firm on the foundation it was laid, you have a job to pay for necessities, and you have the ability to utilize your senses to see the sun set, moon rise and change of season. These are the benefits of life that are often overlooked with an ungrateful heart. By being grateful for where you are, you can create a picture of serenity, appreciation and joy to someone who is unable to utilize all of their senses but is grateful to be with loved ones during this holiday season. Read More