Christmas is a time for reflection, remembering what’s important, exchanging gifts, and stress! Yes, according to a report in this article, 90% of people experience stress over the holidays.
It’s not too difficult to see why. The holidays are supposed to be a time of merriment and joy, but many people haven’t found their source of infinite merriment and joy yet. It’s easy to feel depressed when everyone else seems like they’re enjoying themselves.
There is also a lot of social pressure over the holidays. Giving gifts is necessary, though maybe you’re not financially equipped to be Santa this year. Or maybe you just abhor how commercial Christmas has become and prefer to abstain from all the craziness.
If you are looking for an alternative way to celebrate the holidays, maybe one that will leave you feeling full and wholesome instead of spent and empty, I have a solution.
Below is a t-shirt with a quote from the Dalai Lama I recently saw at the Tibetan community’s home in exile in the Indian Himalayas.
Contributing to other people’s happiness rarely involves money, or at least not on the same scale Christmas typically demands. Take your mom out for lunch. Spend the day with your grandchildren in a park or in the snow. Family time is important, but it’s easy to feel disconnected from everyone during the holidays. Make it a point to spend quality time with those you care about.
You can also go beyond your comfort zone and help strangers. Volunteer in a soup kitchen. Give away things you don’t use to people who could really benefit from them – like giving an old comforter/duvet to a homeless shelter. Donate your time to a job retraining center and teach unemployed adults something new. Teach kids something new. Get involved in your community. Host a MeetUp about something you’re passionate about, or attend one for the first time.
The possibilities are endless and are limited only by the bounds of your imagination. Fill your heart and soul with goodness this holiday season. Not only will you start 2013 feeling great (and hopefully feeling like you want to continue whatever it is you started over the holidays), your January credit card statement won’t cause a mild heart attack.
Giving money is the lowest form of giving. There’s much less heart involved and the good-feeling-dividend for the giver is short lived. Still, donate to your favorite charity this holiday season, or feel free to contribute to the Crazy Hair Fundraiser.
In my case, I’m in India this holiday season, far away from all the Christmas craziness in the West. That’s exactly how I like it. But just like last year, I’ll be with a good friend of mine this holiday season. That’s what it’s all about.
I realize this is not new, sage advice. You’ve heard it before. Now that I’ve committed to a life serving others, it all makes so much sense. I’m just trying to share my thoughts and advice in a non-preachy way and hopefully convince others to take a mini-plunge to see what it’s all about 🙂