It Has Begun

December.

For Christians, December involves religious observance of the birth of Christ, the “Light of the World.” For Jews, it is Hannukah, celebrating the miracle the Eternal Light of the Temple, which burned for eight days. Pagans call this Solstice, also known as Yule or Saturnalia, a celebration of the new solar year and of the Goddess-mother and her sun-child. Within the African-American community it is Kwanzaa, a celebration of the oneness and goodness of life focusing on seven principles supporting the unity of Black families. Still for many others, Christmas is a secular holiday focused on exchanging gifts. Regardless of one’s religion, December is a season of celebrating light in a time of darkness; of giving joy to others; of eating, drinking, and being merry.

Some things to remember:

  • It’s not a competition; your worth as a person does not depend on the cost of the gift.
  • The commercial industry would like you to become entranced by all the shiny doodads and seduced by the schmaltzy, overproduced ads so that you will spend more money.
  • You don’t have to give things as gifts; you can give service.
  • While it’s nice to send a gift out to all your customers, or everyone in your address book, it is not necessary; they will not forget you if you don’t send them a calendar, bottle of bubbly, or fruitcake. (In fact, they’ll probably thank you for not sending a fruitcake.)
  • Keep this saying by Charles Warner in mind:

    The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.

Bring this holiday season to a personal level, emphasizing quiet connection with those who are special to you. Share the gift of each others’ attention and affection. If you want to spend money, you might consider gifts to charities in honor of your loved ones.

It is possible to avoid the churn and mania so often associated with this time of year. You need only decide that external appearances matter less than internal experience.

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