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It’s beginning to FEEL a lot like Christmas…

As the decorations go up and the commercials begin to air, I ask myself, how will our family celebrate this magical time?

The answer is as it has been for so many years –  we will spend our time together, and where we do give, we will give experiences rather than ‘gifts’; create shared memories for each other.  After all, what we love about the season is the FEELING that surrounds this time; love, friendship, connection, and support.  It’s a time when we see more good, offer more thanks, share more joy.

Ask anyone who celebrates it, about their favourite Christmas memory; it will rarely be the gift that they remember.  It will most often be about coming together, Christmas morning cinnamon buns, laughs with family, children’s excitement, ice skating, bright lights, holiday movies, visits from grandparents, singing carols, decorating the tree, and ‘goodness’. We don’t remember the ‘stuff’, because it doesn’t hold a place of importance in our memory or our hearts.  Sometimes, being present really is the present.

So, if this is true and most people feel this way, why do we still see such a focus on spending more money instead of spending more time, on checking off lists instead of checking in with spirit, on getting more done instead of getting more joy, on connecting with sales instead of connecting with selves, on loving the deals instead of loving each other?

What if instead of writing ‘to do’ and ‘to give’ lists, instead of worrying about finding more time and more money, instead of asking “what do you want for Christmas”,  we asked a different question, “What would LOVE do here?”What if we gave the FEELING of Christmas, in whatever form that comes.

Ask those you care about to share what it is they love about Christmas, their best holiday memories; how they want to feel and how you can GIVE them that feeling.  And, if it really is about the cookies from the oven, make some of your favourite holiday recipes, together.  If it’s about the snow, plan a Christmas lights walking route or strap on some snowshoes for a walk in the woods. If it’s about the sounds of the holiday, listen to a local choir, go the theatre, or sing some carols.  If it’s about the food, share some soup and some recipes.  If it’s about the warmth, chop them some firewood, or find a cozy knitted sweater.  If it’s about the tree, take everyone along with you and go pick out the perfect one together.  If it’s about giving back or paying it forward, ask them what contribution you can make in their name, who they would like you to help.   And, if you already do these things to celebrate the season, do you really need more?

This year, before you get caught up in the madness, in the momentum that is ‘shopping’ I encourage you to take a step back and to pause… and think about who you want to give to and why.  And in most cases, it won’t be what you thought; it will be something that matters more, something that makes a difference, to that one person or to many.  And won’t that turn out to be what Christmas is really all about anyway; GIVING and FEELING the LOVE.

So, this year when someone asks me what I want for Christmas, it will be the same thing I want every year…  I want the FEELING that the season brings, to share the rituals, the traditions, and the celebrations with family and friends.  This year for me, it’s about our son coming home after nearly a year away, it’s the other two kids taking a break from their studies to snowboard or hang out at the house, it’s my husband taking time off from working so hard, it’s my brother and hot cups of tea and good conversation, it’s leisurely reading by the fire, it’s a Christmas tree filled with ornaments that are filled with memories, it’s my mom feeling well and her fabulous mincemeat pies, it’s my newly arrived Swedish nephew learning about Canadian traditions, and it’s the memory of those who are gone but not forgotten.  It’s the FEELING and the SPIRIT of the season, and luckily, it is given freely and wrapped in LOVE♥

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, however you choose to celebrate.

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