“Tis the Season

The holiday season has arrived and Christmas is fast approaching. It’s a wonderful, festive, joyful, happy time for many people, but sadly, it’s not so wonderful for others. Perhaps they’ve lost someone they loved recently and are grieving; maybe their health is less than optimal and they are suffering; perhaps financial issues have them weighted down; maybe they are experiencing relationship issues that feel like a huge albatross on their back. And then there are the scrooges of this world that hate Christmas. So individuals arrive at the holiday season with various emotions.

Perhaps that’s why as we’re shopping for the perfect gifts for our loved ones that we notice different facial expressions on those we encounter. Some are beaming with big smiles and laughing all the way while others may be scowling or wearing a sad face. Of course shopping for many people is a real chore so one can understand a scowl or two! And then there are the crowds, the waiting in line, finding a good parking space, perhaps endless looking for what you want – one can understand the frustration and unfavorable temperament at times. And we can also understand why so many opt for online shopping!

Yet isn’t the holiday season so much more than simply shopping for gifts that we feel we must give or truly want to give? So often we get caught up in the advertising frenzy that tells us we must give such and such to be “in” this Christmas. Perhaps we spend more money than we know we should yet feel it is expected of us; the credit card companies love us to feel this way!

Personally, I love to receive gifts, but even more I love to give them, especially if I’ve put time into thinking it through and have come up with a great idea. I imagine most people love the gift-giving aspect of the holidays. But over the years of my life, I’ve come to realize more of what the season is about, and why giving gifts can be such a wonderful part of the holidays.

Love is the reason! Giving a gift is usually an expression of caring and love for the receiver. It will normally brighten their day and bring a smile to their face, something I imagine gives you pleasure as it does me. That is one great aspect of gift-giving – both the giver and receiver are blessed. Even if the gift you receive isn’t something you like, always remember the thought and feeling that came with it.

It’s not the cost of a gift that matters, but the loving thought that was behind it. As a young mother of five, I would save for months to give my kids what I termed a decent Christmas – which simply meant one that would measure up to what their friends got in comparison. That was a stressor for sure! I soon learned that with five kids, I couldn’t do as people with two children did. So I began making things for them that gave them more yet they could treasure for years to come: things like special outfits, doll houses, Barbie and/or doll clothes, and even pajamas out of special fabrics they would like. Although my kids are all grown now with their own children, I have continued to create and make many items for Christmas for both my kids and the grandkids. (along with things I purchase as well) Somehow, that makes it more special because they are gifts made with lots of love.

So what about those who are sad this Christmas, or those who are suffering in some way? What can you do for them? Many churches and businesses have toy and food drives to help those in need – you can contribute to those. Perhaps a visit to someone who is sad or suffering with an illness would bring a smile to their face? Baking some Christmas goodies is another way many people show they care. The list of doing for others is endless, and at this time of year it can be so much more meaningful to share a gift of love with them, something they most likely will cherish!

So as the busyness of the season takes over your life for a few more weeks, remember those who are having difficulty facing the holidays this year. A few hours of your time of doing something for them could make the difference between an unhappy holiday season for them versus one that brings them some joy. I invite you to find at least one person who needs something you have to give this holiday season, something that will bring a ray of sunshine into their holidays so that they can actually feel the words “Merry Christmas!” Spread love this holiday season, but better yet, continue it throughout the coming year!!!

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