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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year is one of my favorite holiday songs because of the memories that flood back every time I hear it. From the time my daughter Caroline could stand, and every year since, we have danced to that song on Christmas Eve.  I love the holidays.

The holidays are a special time of year. They are about coming together as a family and community, celebrating our shared traditions and lending a helping hand to neighbors in need. 

The holidays are about hope and happiness. They are about making time for the special people in our lives and spending that time making those people feel special.  It is not so much about the gifts and the trimmings as it is about the reason for the giving and being thankful for the opportunity to give, receive and affect in a positive way, the lives of the people around us.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year and It’s a Wonderful Life – a great song, a great movie and two great reminders that this is the season of good feelings, of giving and receiving hope and happiness and of putting ourselves in the position to experience the wonderful and priceless gift of gratitude.

Discontent cannot survive in a grateful heart. This year I have a very big and grateful heart, and I am going to show the Christmas Spirit in everything I do.

That Christmas Spirit – What is it?

It’s not about how many decorations you put up or how many gifts you buy. It’s not materialistic – it’s an attitude. Christmas is about giving, sharing, and having compassion and empathy for others. 

I like how Dickens put it, in A Christmas Carol: “I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on their journeys.”

You don’t have to have money to help others at Christmas. Volunteering and visiting nursing homes, soup kitchens, and shelters won’t cost you a cent. If you do have some spare cash, donating to the Salvation Army and other Christmas charities are wonderful ideas. You might be surprised at how much helping others adds to your own holiday happiness! 

Gratitude and giving are everywhere during the holidays.  Why not extend them all year round?  You can start by writing or saying something you are grateful for each morning when you wake up.  Say to yourself, “I am grateful for ________.”  When you practice gratitude, in effect, you are thanking God for everything that you have.  The more you appreciate what you have, more will come to you because you aren’t taking things for granted and you aren’t thinking about what you are lacking.  

Gratitude and giving give you abundance and feeling that abundance makes you happier.  You look for the richness in life!  Imagine how much joy could be spread if everyone helped someone just a little more, and if we continued to do so throughout the entire year. Together, we could make a huge impact and keep the Christmas spirit alive and well not just in December, but for every day of the calendar year.

Have a very Merry Christmas and some very happy holidays!

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