The holidays are in full swing now and no doubt you feel like you are flying around trying to figure out how you are going to get it all done. This mild panic has our hearts racing, and a pit in our stomach and it makes it pretty hard to feel like these days are special. So let’s try to take a break for just 5 or 10 minutes and take a look around, really take a good look, and find one thing that can make us smile and appreciate the holiday season.
Today I stopped at the grocery store and had just a few items to pick up. I heard the bells ringing for the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign in the entryway. I had already contributed at another store so I knew that I didn’t have the means to donate this particular visit. Then I thought back to my last time of being a Red Kettle bell volunteer. The hardest thing to do was to stand there joyfully ringing bells as person after person walked by with their heads held down, avoiding eye contact, and trying to get past you as quickly as possible. I’m sure they felt bad for not donating, and I felt bad for making them feel like they needed to implement an avoidance tactic. I know that every person that walks past you has a different story. Some have money to spare, some are struggling to pay their bills. I was in no position to make any sort of judgement…and I’m sure every other bell-ringer has similar feelings. So when I left the store, I decided to make full eye contact, and wish the person “HAPPY HOLIDAYS”. I knew that it would make me feel better because they were working to help people and they deserved some credit. So I was surprised by the gentleman’s response when he quickly looked up with a huge smile, and said “and the same to you!”. It didn’t even take 30 seconds. His day was happier, my day was happier even though I wasn’t able to contribute at the point in time. That helped me to appreciate the holidays in a small but meaningful way today.
Perhaps you are driving in the car and a holiday song comes on. Take the 5 minutes to really listen and appreciate the song. Heck, if you feel like it, go ahead and sing along. And even better if you are driving alone, go ahead and really belt out the tune. I can tell you that singing along to “O Holy Night” and really going for those high notes can really get your shallow breathing worked out in record time. Even if you are off-key, you will probably start laughing at yourself and THAT will help to change your holiday mood too!
Maybe you are braving the malls for some holiday shopping. People bumping into you, long lines at the check out, ugh! Look around and see if you can find a moment to appreciate the holiday season. Maybe it’s the sparkling holiday decorations that adorn the store, or a genuine moment of a family that just found something perfect for a special family member and they all agree at once that this is it! If you have the time, and patience, maybe it’s letting 1 person move in front of you that looks like the waiting is going to push them over the top. Imagine the look and reaction of surprise and gratitude that 5 minutes can make.
Whether you decide to give of yourself, or just stop to let the holiday spirit envelope you for a few moment, I encourage you to find 1 small thing today that can help you get back into the holiday spirit and let the hustle and bustle take a back seat for a few special moments. I’d love to hear what you discovered today, please leave a comment below. Happy Holidays! Denise
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