Yes, they are approaching or as some might say, encroaching! Trimming of the street lamps has begun. Garland and red bows abound. Storefronts are making transitions into the season. Media and papers are now being filled with ads of "things you just have to have", complete with smiling faces, proving that "more will make you happy!" Un-requested catalogues fill our mailboxes and thank goodness, the political elections for good, just and wise governance and leadership have ended in time to make room for the commercialization of the holidays. Spending, buying, more spending and buying, is this what makes America the land of opportunity or is there something deeper that we have lost because the usual advertisements don't include them and frankly the deeper meanings are really the hard sell. You know like patience, forgiving, accepting, and valuing a person just because of who they are, not for what they are worth or what they have achieved.
Almost all adults with whom you speak regarding the holidays will talk about the added stress they experience. The stress comes from many sources such as finances, family, travel and even the weather. For others stress moves into something much more serious and can even become debilitating for some. Depression and the holidays are not unfamiliar bedfellows to be managed. If the ability to have "jolly holidays" is based on externals and one's buying power only, no wonder it gets a lot of people down.
Let's be honest, most families will not measure up to the "Hallmark" ads. Most families don't have the luxury of everyone happy to see each other and only seeing and remembering the positive things. Therefore, for some it seems perhaps the better part of valor to distance themselves, by not making that phone call or perhaps saving a stamp by leaving out that one person on the card list that "might just think you mean what the card says and oh no, get in touch!"
Dealing with the less than positive side of life is a human experience from which none of us can truly hide. It helps, however, if we could go back and remember a few things we learned as children. Remember when sharing was a valued lessoned that we needed to grasp and then practice. When looking out for one another was the sign we were growing up and being self-centered was for "babies". Eating right and getting enough rest were part of what was expected everyday. Learning to say I'm sorry had great depth and value. Perhaps reaching back to the simple, unadvertised "gifts" of the human spirit may just make your holidays as well as others, something to be anticipated instead of "gotten through".
May I dare you to care, without expecting return, to reach out and forgive thus extending peace to just one person? Perhaps just this one overture could start a domino effect within your family, within your neighborhood or community. A smile does not cost a thing except forgetting yourself and trying to make someone else's day a better experience. What an amazing concept, if smiles could replace stress, if forgiveness could combat loneliness, if the holidays would begin to be celebrated with power of positive actions and that the spending done would be in spending ourselves for the good of others.
Just an idea!