“Unplug your Christmas Machine” – Jo Robinson
As the year winds down, I find it very worthwhile to reflect upon the past year, its challenges, the successes and disappointments that I’ve faced. It is also a time to refocus on what comes next in the year ahead.
Over a 10 year period, I was blessed by the opportunity to travel and work in the United Kingdom. In each of those years I spent a part of the month of December with clients and friends. I found this time to be both inspiring and depressing.
I was uplifted, at least in the circles I traveled, that December was a time to slow down and truly enjoy the spirit of the season. Whether at work or in one’s personal life the Brits I know seem to understand, appreciate and celebrate the meaning of the holiday season. There seemed to be a commitment to putting love and joy into the entire month.
Unfortunately, I have found since those days that the spirit of December and the holiday season has been protracted into the three months prior as well. It has become a retail shopping jamboree as opposed to what I experienced not only in Great Britain but growing up as a child and young adult. It is depressing to me that the spirit of the season in many ways is lost. The “front door” to December, Thanksgiving, has been destroyed by the need to find a “good deal.” We have literally desecrated Thanksgiving and the family values that we as a society tout so often. Nearly 25% of the population is forced to work through Thanksgiving to assure the rest of us who are hungry to spend money on “good deals” will get them. It is unbelievable to me that thousands of people spend the family holiday camped out in line waiting for the doors of a big box store to open rather than spend the day with loved ones.
How can anyone challenge this madness? The answer, at least for me is one person one step at a time. Consider the following reflections for your December and hopefully the spirit of the season will grow for you as it has for me.
- Believe in the true spirit of the season and commit yourself to it each day of the month.
- Remember those people in your life and give them the gift of your time, your love and your appreciation. In addition to the usual gift, go out for coffee and conversation, call and have a real conversation, go for a walk in the park.
- Simply put, express your love and affection in more direct ways than gifts
- Do your holiday activities reflect you deepest values?
- Are you a peacemaker within your family, community and circle of friends?
- Rededicate yourself to the spirit of the season and beyond
“The four things children really want for Christmas are; a relaxed time with a loving family, realistic expectations about gifts, an evenly pace holiday season, and reliable family traditions.” – Jean Coppock Staeheli