It is nearly December, and I am searching for something that is merry and bright. This time of year is tough on a lot of us, me included. A client asked me yesterday what she could do to get more into the Christmas spirit. The truth is, I have no idea. I rarely even put up a Christmas tree. I don't consider myself to be a Christian, at least not a traditional one. I have spent the morning soul searching for some holiday joy.
As I frequently do, I asked Hannah, my spirit guide, for some guidance. She asked me why I think that I have to feel something so specific. She pointed out that the Hallmark version of the holidays is made up, and trying to emulate that may be setting yourself up for failure. Hannah also pointed out that the feelings that I had about Christmas as a child were through the shielded lens of childhood. She challenged me to think about things that inspire me, that create wonder in me. I made a short list of activities that DO make me feel warm inside.
- First, "The Christmas Box," by Richard Paul Evans, is required reading for Christmastime. I love this book. It helps anyone who is grieving at Christmas to remember that they are not alone in their sorrow. Over the summer, I had a chance to visit the cemetery in Salt Lake City where the Christmas Box Angel is placed. She brings hope and peace to the hearts of those who grieve, particular for children.
2. Neighbor treats are a big deal to me. When I was a kid, my mom would spend days baking up trays of holiday treats to deliver to all of our neighbors. One cold winter evening, we would bundle up in our warm winter gear and deliver the treats. As a kid, I probably grumbled about helping with it, but as an adult, I have realized that my mother knew something that I didn't. She knew how important community is. She understood that being kind to, and knowing your neighbors was a foundation of a strong community. We are lacking that understanding these days, and we need to do better. I need to do better. I have not even bothered to do neighbor treats the last few years. That is going to change this year. I am going to enlist my teenagers, regardless of how loud they complain, into helping me serve my neighbors. Maybe someday they will look back and understand why it is so important.
3. Christmas lights! Okay, so maybe not on my house, but on everyone elses. When I was little, my dad would load us in the car, stop for a hot chocolate, and drive all over town admiring the beautiful lights. We would blast Christmas music and have a great time doing it. I need that this year. I need to let those lights warm my soul. I need that hot cup of cocoa to nourish my inner child. I need to sing those songs at the top of my lungs. And I need to remember to put my phone down long enough to enjoy it.
So maybe there is a holiday spark in here somewhere. Maybe I just need to stop thinking long enough to let it ignite. I suspect that this list will grow as I allow myself to feel my feelings, without trying to change them. What is on your short list of must do's for the holidays?