The Reason for the Season: Cultivating Gratitude and Joy

Holiday card with the words happy

Finely wrapped presents, snow painted shops, sparkly decorations, singing Santa Claus and a long list of party invitations all point to the fact that the holiday season has begun. The fun and joy in the air makes Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. Yet, with time you see a change in Christmas celebrations where the entire concept of giving and sharing has been commercialized. How do you embrace the true spirit of Christmas, which is more about opening their hearts than flashy presents?

Spirit of Love
Love is an integral part of Christmas celebrations and something to be mindful of during the season. You can start the spirit of Christmas love by extending a friendly hand to someone who rubs you the wrong way, by sharing your innermost joy and sorrows with your partner, or by simply opening up to all life has to offer. Now is the ideal time to break from the “normal” routine you are so accustomed to and filling your heart with love to carry you throughout the year. (Think: the Grinch when his heart grows three sizes in one day!)

Spirit of Charity
Charity begins at home and Christmas presents the perfect opportunity to practice this. You do not have to be infinitely rich to give charity. You just have to have an open heart. Look into your wardrobe and donate clothes that will benefit others. Share your resources by giving what you can to those less fortunate than you. Start with your relatives and then extend it all over the community. You will feel lighter and more joyous in the process.

Spirit of Joy
Speaking of Joy… The spirit of joy is quite a subjective concept. What may be joyous to you might not be joyous to another person, so look within to reconnect with that which makes you happy. Indulge in that, and then spread your joyous energy to everyone around you. It’s infectious!

Spirit of Gratitude
Acknowledgement of love and relationships is the essence of Christmas season. Show your loved ones that you care by thanking them. Call a friend, bake a cake, create a painting or do anything that makes people around you feel important and appreciated. Give a special Christmas bonus to your subordinates or call them over for a holiday dinner. Journal about all that you are thankful for and create an environment that fosters this mindset throughout the year.

Make this holiday season a time to love and get your soul hooked on the true joys of Christmas.