The holidays are right around the corner, and that brings about mixed feelings for many. Usually, holidays are fun and joyful days where people can come together and share their love for each other that may have gone unnoticed or unrevealed throughout the year. However, this year has been more difficult than recent years for some.
There’s a whole list of bad things that have happened. The entire 2016 presidential election, what’s going on in Aleppo, the death of some of our favorite celebrities, mass shootings, Brexit, disease outbreaks, and the list goes on and on. All of this can often be made worse by differing opinions that polarize friends and family. While discussion is good and healthy, many events and opinions (especially this year, it seems) lead to hate, fear, and even apathy that can tear at the hearts of everyone.
This holiday season, I want everyone to take a step back. Yes, standing up for what you believe in is important, as is educating those around you to problems that maybe aren’t directly affecting them. But, maybe it’s more important just for these next couple of weeks to celebrate the time you get with other people. Spend joyful time with them, even if it has its awkward moments. Life is awkward and hard. The holidays are supposed to be a time of cheer to celebrate those around you. Take that time!
Plus, not everything is bad news! So many good things have happened this year, too. It’s just harder to notice sometimes. For example, tiger and panda populations are up! Pokémon Go got people moving and interacting with others, the ice bucket challenge brought us closer to a treatment for ALS, volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours, Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar, the Harry Potter universe continues, and so much more! This isn’t meant to say that the bad things that have happened should be ignored but rather, they shouldn’t be your sole focus. More so during this time of love and joy than any other.
I know others dread the holidays because of the money that is involved with gifts, throwing parties, or something similar. Many people have two jobs just to support their family with necessities. Some people are college students that have been struggling through finals and paying tuition. This shouldn’t take away from this time of love. Spending time with those close to you is really important, too. And, if you feel like you need to get them something, write letters or make them something small. Making it meaningful has a much greater impact then how big or expensive it is.
Focus on each other this holiday season. If you’re religious, take the time to thank your God or find your inner peace, and truly love one another. There’s still so many days left this year to spread love and kindness. You don’t need to buy presents. Simply BE present for life’s little moments during the holidays- and later, if you want to spread that love a little further. Everyone could appreciate a little love this year. “Be the kindness you wish to see in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi).