Leah and I just returned from a trip to northern Illinois to visit my family. We won’t be able to make it for the holidays, so we went while we could. It was good to see them. Hugs all around, good conversations, gift exchanges, and just time with family.
I don’t know what your relationship is with your family, but we are fast approaching the holiday season, when most of us will get together with friends or relatives, enjoy meals that are too large and induce food comas, and carry on traditions that were started before anyone can remember.
This is meant to be the happiest time of the year, but for many people, it’s the saddest and loneliest. If you generally get sad or lonely, make an effort to be with someone. I don’t mean jumping into a romantic relationship (and certainly don’t mean carrying one too far), but be with your family and friends as often as you can be. If you’re not near them, go to a local church’s party. At this time of year, most people have at least a modicum of good cheer and are willing to make new friends.
If you are already happy enough, invite someone who isn’t to join you at some point. You don’t have to bring in a foreign coworker into your Christmas morning with the family time, but you can invite him or her to your Christmas party. You can also give small gifts that cost you $5 or less. It really is amazing how inexpensive it can be to bring a smile to someone’s face and brighten their mood for a week or more.
And, though retailers are opening their doors earlier seemingly every year, try to avoid the commercialism of it all. The best gifts aren’t the most expensive ones, or even the ones that you had to elbow the most people out of the way to get. The best gift in life is love. You’ve been given it freely, so if you accept it, you will always have enough to give it freely to others.