We’ve only got a week before Christmas. How are you holding up? Many of us can’t feel the holiday season and we breezed through a lot of the usual major celebrations this year but let’s not forget the real reasons why life is worth celebrating.
We can’t count how many times we’ve said that 2020 is such a pain! It has been a challenge for all of us – not just here in the US – but to everyone around the globe. From pandemic-related struggles, unemployment and business shutdowns, to the world seemingly put on halt, when will it get better?
This is the part where we say that all the hardships this year doesn’t mean that the holidays should be canceled. Instead, let’s take this opportunity to really see the essence of what we’re celebrating.
Christmas is a holiday rich with meaning and joy. This is a time where we show the people we love how much we care for them in the grandest of ways. It has become about gift giving and eating good food, and the search for a perfect gift but let’s remember the meaning behind it.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It symbolizes hope and our new beginnings. It’s about bringing happiness and togetherness within families and friends, as well as spreading joy to the community. It’s about the spirit of love and giving.
It’s time to let go of all the bitterness and the superficial things. We tend to lose track of what really matters and are blinded by all things sparkly and grand. Although it’s nice to receive gifts, remember that giving is supposed to make you feel good. It’s not supposed to make you worry about being able to afford something or hoping you’ll receive something of equal value (or more) in return. It’s about giving.
Sentimental gifts are simply the best! They show the person that you value them and the moments you spent together. Gifts are supposed to tell a story. It can be a simple bracelet you can give your friends or maybe a keychain for them to carry. It can be as small as something to fill their stockings but they definitely have to fill the heart!
Gifts are supposed to be meaningful. It’s not about the item or how much, it’s about the thought, the time and effort you put into it. Gifts aren’t just about the price tags or the sparkle and shine, they’re supposed to be relevant to the person receiving them.
In our case, we’re thankful for the ocean. This is why we donate to organizations with a mission to care for our oceans and marine life. That’s our way of reconnecting, contributing, and helping out. How about you? Who and what are you thankful for?
Your best friend who keeps you inspired? Your kids who bring you pride and joy? How about your husband or wife who stands by you through thick and thin? Or your parents who have been there right from the start? They are the ones that truly matter. Focus on them.
Have you told the people you love how much you truly appreciate them? Did you have a bit of a falling out in the past years? Maybe it’s time to reconnect. Not just through social media or through gadgets, but to really take time to listen and talk to them. Maybe it’s time for forgiveness. Maybe it’s time to truly bond. Did you miss out on a lot? Now is your chance to make it up to them.
How about your business? Have you been taking care of your employees? These are the people who take care of you and your business. If you’ve been too hard on them or if you’ve said things to devalue them, they forgive you. But here’s your chance to show a bit of gratitude. They’d love the big fat Christmas checks but not all businesses can afford it this year. Don’t worry, during these trying times, people are more appreciative of anything you can give.
If you can only do something small to make it special, that's more than enough. Because that is what the holiday spirit is really about.
This may not be your style but when was the last time you wrote something heartfelt for your loved ones? Those cheesy cards or letters that have slowly become “a thing of the past” and you think has no value? Those are actually the ones that mean more. Why? Because it allows you to really say what you have to say. It takes courage to spill your heart out and express how you really feel. It takes a lot of effort to put it down in words.
We have become so afraid to show our sentimentality that we’ve put up a barrier around us. Hiding behind expensive things because it’s not “modern” or “cool” to write letters anymore, and trying to impress others to get a lot of attention over social media.
Why do we care more about what other people will say? Is that really what matters? No, what matters is the heart. Whether they show it or not, everyone has a soft spot and they will appreciate it. It's the little personal touches and inexpensive things that can add a special feeling.
No good deed goes unnoticed. Maybe people won’t remember, and maybe you won’t get an award, but there’s a certain joy in making people happy – more so when you do it anonymously. How about being a Secret Santa? You will find joy in making people happy, even with the simplest things. And if you’re still looking for something nice as gifts for your wife, daughter, sister, or friend, here’s a sweet deal!
Without the noise of the busy world or the lavish vacations we think we need, let’s look back and appreciate the people around us this holiday season.
© Madison Ashley USA (2020)