The holidays have once again sneaked up on us and this year I’ve decided to diverge from the usual financial topics to write about something closer to the heart, revisiting what I wrote last year. For me, that is taking some time out to appreciate what I have in my life and to think about something really important: gratitude and kindness.
The holiday season tends to fly by in a rush each year, and then suddenly, before you can say “hot cocoa”, the holidays are here and then so quickly gone! It is true that your holiday traditions and holiday moments can slow things down a little bit, and so can moments of gratitude and kindness to friends and strangers. But overall, the holiday season moves way too quickly and in a flash, the winter doldrums takes its place.
Resolved: This year will be a very good year!
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Well, I mean the holiday season will still fly by, but once the holidays have passed doesn’t mean we need to let go of the joy and good feelings. In fact, I’d highly recommend you take advantage of that age-old tradition of making new year’s resolutions (except replace resolutions with goals) to make sure that the rest of your year is as merry and bright as it can possibly be.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
We are never as rich and wealthy as we are when we feel grateful for the things we already have. But it’s so easy to take them for granted, especially when we see all around us the message of consumerism and more, more, more! And so our gratitude tends to be limited to Thanksgiving, the winter holiday season, and the occasional lightbulb moment when we see how much more we have than so many others around the globe.
So these are my “super” holiday tips. I’m asking that you take that gratitude and make it last much longer, like when the oil in the temple unexpectedly lasted 8 nights (a.k.a. the miracle of Hanukkah). Find ways to stay conscious of all that you have and hold dear. Tell the people in your life how much they mean, and tell them often. Make a point of counting your blessings frequently.
“A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.” – John Ruskin
When you choose to act out of kindness, whether it’s toward your family or friends, neighbors or strangers, a remarkable thing happens. Not only do they feel better, but so do you. It’s the ultimate “win-win” situation and one of the best gifts you can give. It is really a gift to yourself, isn’t it?
Of course there are small everyday kindnesses, like carrying someone’s groceries, opening a door for someone and ongoing kindnesses like volunteering at a charity as my wife does. Challenge yourself to give more kindness this year whenever you can.
One of the most personal and difficult kindnesses is to try and forgive someone. But, if you can do it, you will find that it benefits you as much as the person you forgive.
Renew Your Spirit
“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” – Eleanor Brown
Finally, during the hustle and bustle of the season, and throughout the whole year, we must take care of ourselves in order to be able to feel the gratitude and give kindness. When we’re stressed and frazzled, it’s more difficult to see that our problems may be small compared to many others in the world and that we still have so much. So get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, and take a break when you need one. Don’t hustle so hard that you don’t have time for yourself and the ones you love. If you think in this way, you are giving a gift to yourself and everyone around you without even realizing it.
So in the spirit of the holidays, I am going to be recharging my batteries and taking this upcoming week off to do just that. I will return with my next post Tuesday, January 2, 2018!
Holiday Wishes to Everyone!
These are my holiday thoughts for you: stay grateful, be kind, take care of yourself, and don’t just save it for the holidays, do it all year long!
Wishing you the happiest of holidays, whatever you may celebrate and many more years of joy to you and your family!