Saturday, November 20, 2010
Tis the Season
And so it begins.
Here we find ourselves, a week shy of Thanksgiving, and already the holiday spirit has grasped us. Many shopping centers, aglow with twinkles, blast Christmas tunes in order to add to the seasonal vibe.
I’ve a bad feeling, though, that the seasonal vibe has devolved into something less-than-joyful, for I’ve heard too many complaints already about the headache of shopping, the headache of family, and the fears of actually losing one’s house in order to buy his kid the latest high-tech gadget.
Enough, already, I elegantly and humbly ask of you.
It’s the time of year in which we first and foremost must count our blessings. Be grateful for all those folks on your shopping list; there are so many among us who have no one to shop for this time of year.
Oh, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: those on your list will benefit far more from a small gift from your heart rather than something bright and shiny that will add undue stress on you. I hope to never receive something that would put my loved ones into debt (even though I put a $1600 couch on my Amazon wish list. I did it to make my sister laugh. She did. My job is done). I have far more than I’ll ever need, and really the greatest gift I could ever receive is the opportunity to spend time, good cheer, and a lot of laughs with my loved ones this time of year (preferably on a new couch, so if you’d like to contribute to the Beth Newman Sofa Fund, feel free to do so. I’m kidding, of course. My current couch, though old and cat-clawed, suits me just fine.)
Commericialism has gotten so out of hand, particularly around the holidays. A dear friend of mine once told me that she’d informed her children, when they were small, that they could have anything they wanted for Christmas provided they didn’t see an ad for it on television. As a result, her children asked for musical instruments, art supplies, and such, and grew into three of the most loving, giving, and interesting young adults I know.
Perhaps if we related the concept of charity early on to our children, their desire for so much stuff would dwindle. Perhaps if we, ourselves, had been denied a few things as children, we’d be a little more focused on the actual reason for the season.
Here’s my challenge for you, dear friends: this year, take a portion of what you’d normally spend on loved ones and give it to charity. Spend some of that holiday shopping time volunteering in a homeless shelter, animal shelter, or senior citizen facility. Make the kids come along with you so that they can see just how good you’ve got it.
Heck, make this a practice throughout the year.
Remember, it’s all about our feelings and intentions this time of year. Stress, resentment, and worry should never factor into it all.
I truly wish for each of you a holiday season full of love, faith, and charity.
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