Happy Holidays, Friends!
We usually do a cute holiday card and send it out to friends and family – but somehow the holiday sneaked up on me and we just didn’t do one this year. As I continue to come home to a mailbox full of holiday cards, I feel both guilty for not sending ours out this year and overwhelmed by how much I love my friends and family. As I’ve gotten older and the days of seeing all my best friends and family in the same place at the same time happens almost never (i.e. college and childhood is long over!), I so appreciate getting photo cards and little updates in the mail this time of year.
Since I’m a total slacker on the holiday greeting thing this year, I thought I’d do the next best thing and write a blog to express my holiday cheer to all the people who may stumble across this (which hopefully will include some of my friends and family who bother to visit me here on this blog!). So here we go:
Every year brings with it new challenges and struggles, and this year was no different. In reflecting on the last year – so much has happened in our lives and I can’t help but to dream about next years holiday season and wonder how much my life will have changed in just a few short months. If there is one lesson I’ve learned it’s this: Life happens SO fast.
I have gone through phases in my life where I spent a lot of time thinking about the true meaning of Christmas, and others where I was so riddled with my own personal brand of angst that I couldn’t see pull off the whole “be merry” spirit of things. I have had years where it was all about buying the perfect gift to give to someone in my life, or wondering what someone would get for me. And times of joy in just watching the children in our family enjoy the holiday so much that you can’t help but join in. I have had Christmas day’s where all I could think of was who wasn’t there anymore, and others when I wondered if I would ever find someone to create my own holiday traditions with.
This year, I have so much to be thankful for, including a wonderful husband who has answered my prayer regarding someone to start my own traditions with – and I have family both near and far whom I cherish so much. I have friends starting right next door and extending all the way across the globe who have been a part of my life for quite some time now. I’m so thankful for both these new and continued relationships in my life.
It’s easy to get caught up in the spending of money and picking out the perfect gift part of the holiday season. It’s easy to get bogged down by the last few days of work before a little bit of a vacation. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with trying to prepare your house, or pack your bags to travel during the holiday season. And it’s easy to get frustrated by family members schedules and food preferences and all your relatives’ crazy antics that will be in full force over the next week or two.
But what it’s REALLY easy to do is to forget what Christmas and the “holiday season” is all about. Even if you aren’t religious and Christmas season isn’t about celebrating the birth of Christ and being thankful to God for sending His son to us – I hope you can still appreciate that the Spirit of Christmas is about love, kindness and peace for all mankind. And not just appreciating it – but really actively pursuing that spirit by being kind to others, by forgiving people in your life who perhaps you’ve been mad at for too long. By doing something completely nice for a total stranger because it’s the right thing to do (all year round by the way, not just Christmas time!). It’s about not assuming people in your life know you care about them – and reminding them with your words AND your actions of how you feel. The Spirit of Christmas really boils down to relationships and the appreciation we should have for one another even if we haven’t met yet.
I hope that no matter what has been going on for you this past year – you can spend the next few weeks pursuing the Christmas Spirit – and I think you’ll find just by thinking about how to enhance the relationships in your life (to friends, family and strangers) you may find yourself overwhelmed by how good it feels to be kind to one another. And who knows, it might just catch on.
Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all my friends – near and far. Be safe, be kind, and remember to pursue the Christmas spirit this year.