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Embrace Christmas spirit all year long

After the presents have been opened and the festivities of Christmas day are over, most of us pack away our Christmas spirit with the decorations. Our Christmas spirit- you know, that extra cheery, smile and be nice to everyone vibe that we embrace in the holiday season. It’s time to tuck it away, right? I mean we have been extra jolly and festively friendly for more than a month at this point. Quite frankly it can be exhausting just maintaining that effort throughout the season. In fact, I heard countless people this season express how overwhelming it was to try to even muster up the Christmas spirit this year. Amidst all that we are facing and the countless challenges of our community right now…Christmas spirit felt like a challenge some days. So of course as the season winds down there may be an extra rush to dispense with the festive spirit. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize how much better things might be if we all kept that Christmastime cheer with us throughout the year.

Of course, part of the reason it’s not so difficult to be a bit kinder in the season, a bit more cheery at Christmas is because it is a limited thing. It’s easy to think, “I’ll be nicer to my cranky coworker because it’s Christmas” or “I’ll smile at the person who stole my parking space because it’s Christmas.” Knowing that Christmas cheer is a limited time only offer makes it easier to embrace it. But what if we didn’t limit it? What if we kept that spirit all year long?

Staying in a festive state of mind for the entire twelve months of the year is quite unrealistic. In reality, we just can’t be happy, gift giving, carol humming elves every single day, right? But what if we could choose SOME of the festive spirit, some of the joyous, think about others attitude and intertwine it into the rest of our year? What if we could just keep a little Christmas in heart, especially this year?

The holiday season often reminds of all that we have to be thankful for: our friends, family, and the collective joy many of us experience at this time of year. If we could keep that attitude in our hearts and hold it with us all year long, we could actually perpetuate some of the Christmas wonder on a daily basis. Perhaps the key is to focus on what we have, what we have been blessed with and not fixate on what we wish we had. More gratitude, less wishing maybe?

What if we prioritized what matters and WHO matters every single day. Most of us are able to carve out some significant time on Christmas Eve or Christmas day to spend time simply being present with those we cherish. We emphasize time together with those that are important to us. Don’t our cherished people deserve that priority and focus throughout the year? What if we tried to be more intentional with our tine and more present with our people all year long? Christmas is a time for taking note of things we love–the little traditions, the pretty, glittery decorations. The season brings out a sense of childlike wonder. Trying to embrace that wonderment all year long, by looking for good bits in every day, is another great way to keep the spirit of Christmas alive

At Christmastime, people often find themselves being a bit kinder, a little friendlier to those they do not know., We are more inclined to smile at strangers we pass on the street or in the store. We exchange more pleasantries with those we don’t know. Treating others with kindness–especially those you don’t know, and especially those who don’t necessarily treat you with kindness–is a wonderful way to keep the spirit of Christmas alive every single day of the year. Imagine the kindness we would spread if we embraced that month long attitude all year round!

The holiday season always prompts us to give of ourselves to others. Volunteer hours increase. Giving to causes and organizations near and dear to our own hearts increases. The holidays trigger us to care for those who might face greater challenges; the season brings out the most benevolent side in nearly all of us. Every charitable organization, every clothing closet and every food pantry will tell you about the “dip” that comes each January. Gifts surge, then disappear. Sometimes the gifts of November/December are overwhelming and then the barren month of January begins. The needs don’t go away. The needs don’t surge then cease. The needs are always there. What if we kept that caring and nurturing spirit all year long? What if we looked for ways to make a difference, to give of ourselves, to champion change, even when it wasn’t Christmas? It doesn’t have to be a large presentation, it can be an hour of your time, a single bag of groceries, an extra $25 gift in an envelope just because. Giving feels good. Knowing we make a difference or someone else feeds our soul what if we did a little more of that throughout the year just to keep Christmas humming in our hearts all year long?

The close of a very challenging year will simply mean the opening of what may be another challenging year for many. As a community we are facing hurdles and hardships. The difference makers have been marching in this battle for months now and they are weary. They are committed, but they are weary. We have said many times throughout this season that we all just “needed a little Christmas”. Well folks, we still do! Our community needs that Christmas spirit to linger and persist this year. We all need that Christmas spirit to sustain and carry us through the rest of the challenge. Keeping Christmas alive in any year would be a game changing approach. Keeping the Christmas spirit alive in all our hearts this year will be the difference between surviving and thriving. Charles Dickens had no earthly idea what 2020 nd 2021 would look like in this world…… but he was spot on when he said “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.” I hope you will join me in the commitment to embrace the spirit of Christmas in the smallest of ways each and every day of the new year. It is quite possible what can see us through!

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