Happier Holidays

xmastree2The holidays often mean rushing, stress, debt, and exhaustion after all the fun is done–oh, and cleaning, too (both before and after). But they don’t have to mean that for you.

Today we’ll be visiting neighbors–almost everyone puts on a dinner and we have three houses to visit nearby. In some ways, it’s the old way of the holidays, but a lot of folks will be staying home. The real question, however, is how will you keep the spirit of the season throughout the year?

This is the season of goodwill to all, of peace on earth, although that’s not true for everyone. But it is possible to bring a little of that goodwill and peace to other days. Now there are all sorts of advice for sustainable holidays–from recycling gifts to living trees (tried that, and we tend to prefer living trees that are already doing well in the ground) to gift wrap in fabric. However, how about the holiday ideas to the year.

As in find a charity that resonates you–donate a dollar a month (or two). That’s less than a cup of coffee and will bring a smile not only to you but to someone else as well.

Practice random acts of kindness–buy the person in line behind you their cup of coffee, or buy a stranger their meal in a restaurant, or drop off flowers at a home for the elderly, or just do something because it appeals to you. Make your gifts non-seasonal to bring the spirit to every month.

And, yes, we hear this a lot–spend time with those you love. This isn’t just for them, it’s for you. Studies have shown this is one of the biggest dying regrets, but even more importantly, spending time with those you love improves your health. And this doesn’t mean obligation visits to the family. Pick out those folks you love the best–is it your neighbors, your best friend, your school chums, who do you hand out with? Go find them and visit, and not just during the holidays.

Gift yourself something you really want that will improve your life. Not that new car (they’re often more of a headache), but more like that pair of super comfortable socks, or that five pounds you’ve been wanting to lose forever, or that movie you’ve been meaning to see that you haven’t made time to go and watch. Find a little thing that will bring you a smile–that’s something you can then turn around and share.

And now we have to go visiting.

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