The Present of Presence

The Holiday season is among us. Thanksgiving-- my favorite day of the year. It's entirely centered around gratitude for family, friends, food, love, laughter, everything YOU HAVE. Then comes Christmas, my least favorite holiday, centered on ripping the gratitude we created at Thanksgiving and telling us we need more. More of what? More of whatever you get in that box under the tree wrapped in an ornate paper and tied with a frilly bow. Thanksgiving us is telling us, 'Now, right now, be thankful for what you have, for what you've been given, and for what sits on the plate in front of you. Christmas pulls back saying, what you have isn't enough... look all you can be given! Look at the shiny trinkets and bright colored boxes. As the Christmas cheer grows larger, more exaggerated, that bank account of yours seems to take a back seat. People are so stressed, and for what? Getting your kid, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, brother, cousin an item that will more than likely be resold, or put into storage? Why can't Christmas be a continuation of Thanksgiving? Why can't it echo the gratitude we felt a month before. This year, what if we replaced the time we spent shopping with time spent with family, or helping at a soup kitchen. What if we, instead of spending money on superfluous gifts, spent money at bettering ourselves,the ones we love, or our community. So I challenge you with this for the Christmas Holiday: Let the idea that what you have isn't enough, and give the Present of Presence. Give your family a yoga class and go together. Offer to drive your friends to a new location for a hike. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Donate to people who need a pair of shoes more than your cousin needs a doll. Make the most of your time with your family and make that time worthwhile. Be the ripple of gratitude and spread the joy, grateful cheer and helpful hands. <3