It’s the Holiday Season. A time of year many of us look upon with great anticipation. However it seems the Christmas season gets busier and busier every year, rushing around for last minute presents, and I personally was recently faced with a situation where I saw clearly how much Christmas has become about gifts and gift giving/receiving. That it has become a holiday filled with STUFF rather than joy.
This got me to thinking about joy…. Where does it come from? How do we get it? Are other people experiencing it?
I get the general feeling that Christmas has become a pretty selfish time of year. We think about the things we want, dream about the things we might get, and sure we spend some time shopping for others, but mostly it’s about receiving. I feel like looking around at all the things we want and not really pausing to be thankful for what we already have. I think this is what causes dissatisfaction, numbness, and even depression sometimes. When we look around and make lists of all the things we want it fuels the feeling that we don’t have enough making us feel unhappy with our current circumstances.
Now I don’t want to be downer but here is where I am going to get real. If you are reading this it is likely you have PLENTY. I know I have plenty of stuff. I have so much stuff my closets are full and my basement too. Why do we constantly feel like we need more stuff, why do we keep buying crap we don’t use? Because we have been sold the message that this is what makes us happy. The opposite is actually true. Look at these kids below. Why do they look so happy? Their clothes are torn, they look thin and malnourished and yet they are joyful and all it took was a soccer ball and rain. I think we are actually making ourselves unhappy with all of our stuff.
This is why I am kind of feeling done with Christmas as I have known it. I don’t want to buy obligatory gifts that people aren’t going to use, and I don’t want to receive it either. So here is challenge number one. Consider taking some of your Christmas money this year and spending it on someone who needs it. You are choosing to spread joy by making the world a little bit brighter when you do something like this to celebrate the season rather than spend lots of money on items that in the end matter little to you. So here is a list of things you can do this season to create true joy, spread real cheer and make a lasting change in the world:
And support kids in need.
Give the gift of protecting Nature in someone’s name this season here: https://www.nrdc.org/
Think about the things you are a passionate about and see if you can do something this holiday season to honor that.
I know Christmas is quickly approaching but in honor of this season I want to challenge you to focus on and be grateful for all the things you do have. To pause and consider what is good in your life without all the presents, and stuff.
For me nature is a wonderful reminder to slow down, and enjoy each day as it comes. When I spend more time in nater and offline I am creating the space for true joy. Joy that is based in love, compassion and gratitude and not in money or things I can buy.
I’m not saying to turn gifts down, or to not enjoy the season, but consider for the sake of your own happiness that at the end of the day all the things in the world can’t make you happy or joyful- contentment and gratitude are where true long lasting happiness comes from.
This season was meant to be a time where we can reflect on these qualities. To be at peace, experience the joy of the season, and spend time with people we love. Ask yourself how you can create space and time for those things this season. Spread love and cheer not through purchasing THINGS but through your time, creativity and authentic self give. I challenge you ( I will be doing this with you) to turn of your phones and enjoy some time just chilling outside or with people you love. Without texting it, snapping it, or instagramming just be there. If your really brave maybe try doing it for a whole 24 hours.
Wishing you all lots of love this Holiday Season. I hope it is filled with peace and the true long lasting joy of gratitude and contentment.