23 December 2009

Three things I've learned about the holidays


It's Christmas Eve Eve in our house, and my daughter is busy counting down the minutes until it is officially Christmas Eve, followed by Christmas, and Christmas Road Trip. There's anticipation and excitement, giggles and glee, all flavored with a dash of greed (Mom, come look at this! I wanted to ask for this to!) every time A Scooby Doo Christmas is interupted by commercials for something she hadn't yet asked for. (Sorry kiddo, it's too late for me to go looking for Aqua Sand. And Pillow Pets have been out of stock for weeks now.)

Some of the presents are wrapped and under the tree, while a few others are in boxes waiting for a moment when little eyes won't see what is in them before the swaddling of shiny paper surrounds them. The cookies have been baked and handed out, and the holiday playlist has been on auto-shuffle for weeks. The days are short, the nights are cold (even in Florida - we almost got down to freezing last night!), and there are less days left in 2009 than there are fingers on my hands.

So now that I've set the mood (busy, cold, and happy) let me share a few things about the holidays :

1 - You can tell a lot about a person by the way they approach gift giving, and receiving a gift. Specifically : What is the perfect gift? My answer - anything, and everything, as long as it is given with loving thoughts and good meaning. If someone gifts a gift card or even smooth foldable cash, and they do it because they want the receiver to be able to get exactly what they want, that gift is every bit as thoughtful and well intentioned as a hand-knit sweater or a shiny flat panel plasma screen that was given with the same spirit.

2 - You can learn a lot about yourself by how you handle the holidays. Are you stressed because you don't have everything finished when you wanted it to be? You may need to stop and smell the pine wreaths. Had your presents wrapped since before Thanksgiving and the cookies in crush-proof boxes in the freezer since the first of the month? You might could use a bit of excitement in your holiday - try substituting Rumplemintz for the rum in your holiday nog. Wishing it was all over and you could forget about the holidays completely? Drop a box of canned goods off at a local food shelter, and you'll have done something good whether it was holiday related or not.

3 - It's about the love. And if it isn't about the love, you're doing it wrong. It doesn't matter whether you are celebrating Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Boxing Day, or Bill of Rights Day. Celebrate it with love and sincere wishes for the happiness and well being of those around you, and you can't go wrong.

I hope your days are filled with laughter and your nights filled with love as we approach the end of the year. And wherever you spend the holidays, whatever you celebrate, may the peace and spirit of the season fill your hearts with joy.

Happy holidays!

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