The holiday time of the year is typically busy with the hustle and bustle of getting prepared for celebration and the gathering of family and friends.
The tendency for many of us is to rush around madly trying to buy the right gifts, decorate our homes, attend a variety of parties, and generally scurry around until we practically fall down from exhaustion.
Is this how it is meant to be? Not that we shouldn't enjoy gift giving and merry making - indeed we should!
However, it is most important that we partake of the true spirit of the season - the joy of family and friends and the reflection upon why we are celebrating.
This holiday season could be better spent in sharing in each other's joy, laughter and spirit. It's never too late to get back to the real meaning of giving and receiving.
Do we really need to buy on a whim? Do we need one hundred pairs of shoes or the latest souped-up anything? We're actually here to experience, enjoy and share with each other.
Yes we can exchange meaningful and appropriate gifts, but we don't have to overdo it. We can take our time and be sensitive to what the person needs or will get genuine joy from.
2. Appreciate each other. Rather than focus on what your family or friends might want, focus on who they are and what they mean to you.
Years ago, when he was on the Oprah show promoting his book For One More Day, Mitch Albom talked about what you would say to someone deceased if you had one more day to spend with them. It certainly wouldn't be about the gifts you bought them or how much money you spent.
3. Be deliberate and make every moment count. Our lives are busy, no question about it. During the holidays make the conscious decision to savor every moment. Who knows how many of you will be around for future gatherings? Parents age, circumstances change, life moves forward. You never know what next year will bring. Make the most of the time you have together.
4. Be kind and caring. The holidays are not pleasant for everyone. There are many who don't have much and will find themselves lacking at this time of the year. Donate coats, food and money to the less fortunate. Don't just give to those who have much, give to those who don't. You'll feel so good about doing it, better than you can imagine.
5. Be grateful and reflective. As mentioned, this time of the year is busy and demanding, however the real purpose of the holidays is not to run around finding the coolest gifts and to rack up the credit cards. It's to assess, reflect and be grateful for the freedom and abundance we have. Take the time to listen to the beautiful holiday music, enjoy the gorgeous decorations and be thankful for everything.
During this holiday season make the conscious decision to enjoy the many spiritual gifts the holidays bring; the joy, the laughter and the sharing with family and friends.