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Hello Good Neighbors! It’s the beginning of the holiday season and I can sense the change in people’s energy already! Some people are super excited – talking about what’s on their giving and getting gift lists. Many others are super anxious – voicing their concerns about not being able to have or provide the type of holiday they want for themselves and their loved ones.

Here’s a reminder: It’s not about the gifts. It’s about you and the meaning you create in your connections with others, with your understanding of the meaning behind the holidays. Most holidays celebrated in this dark time of year are about Light. A return of Light, birth of New Light, an Enduring Light . . . Light is the metaphor for the Gift of Light in these darkest days.

Here are a few ways to make sure that your holiday will be filled with Light, and will not create a darkness after all the tinsel and lights are put away:

1. Don’t go into debt, use credit cards, or spend money needed for basic expenses for purchasing gifts for others or yourself.
2. Know that gifts of time and homemade gifts are lovely and suitable. Personally, the gifts I cherish and remember most are the gifts of time, art, poems, and hand crafted items.
3. Be clear, starting today, with your intentions for the holidays. Don’t wait to tell your children that you’re doing a family experience instead of toys or electronics. Let your family know that you’re making a change.
4. Don’t feel obligated to celebrate the way you always have. If you enjoy a tradition, celebrate it in the way that causes the least stress on you financially and emotionally. If you don’t enjoy a tradition, let it go. Communicate your plans to others involved early.
5. Remember that the holiday is 1 out of 365 days to show your love and affection to others. Give small gifts – hugs, encouragement, a yummy food, holding hands, a walk in the park, doing a load of laundry, making a cup of tea, laughing at something funny, apologizing if necessary, saying “you are so amazing” – every day of the year. One expensive, giant gift will not make up for the disappointments and dysfunction of the rest of the year.
6. Spend time in nature. I know, it’s jolly FREEZING out there. That will get your blood pumping and make your grateful to find a heated place.
7. Treat yourself gently. Take time when you can to reconnect with the Light that resides inside you. It will remind you that “things” and “stuff” are not necessary to celebrate this time of year.

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