What makes you positive and passionate about the holidays?

“Enjoy the little things in life for some day you will realize they were actually the big things.”

The moments gathered with friends and family at the table, near the lit fireplace or the glow of holiday lights stick to our memories throughout a lifetime.

While many hasten through stores and aisles to find the perfect gift or food for yet another party, others happily stroll through the crowd, pausing to immerse themselves in the holiday scene before them. Young girls and boys press their hands and faces toward the glass windows displaying the latest toys and dolls. Volunteers bundled in scarfs, coats, and hats, ring bells outside of stores for donations. Customers wait in long lines excited and eager – sometimes even irritated – to tackle the next task on the list.

While many people drive back to warm homes either from stores, malls, or work, some are without transportation, shelter and food.  Some men and women spend time in nursing homes, hospitals, or even as inmates in jail cells, wondering whether life will ever improve.

We often live unaware of the suffering around us. During this time of year, do we want to live passively or passionately? What does a passionate life look like for you?

Do we thrive in life, grateful for the positive things, or do we wander through life overlooking each day’s gifts?

  • First, we must manage our expectations. Facebook would lead us to believe that our friends have perfect homes and children. But remember, social media is just an illusion, as is most media regarding the happiness of the holidays.
  • Second, helping others often helps us most. Counseling & Recovery board, staff and friends adopt our families in need for the holidays.
  • Third, make a “thank you” list. You will discover few things on the list are possessions. Most are the people who bring joy, love, and meaning to your life. Putting a focus on the positive things helps minimize the impact of what’s negative or missing.
  • Finally, don’t forget to do something nice for yourself. Self-care is not selfish.

Recovery Support Specialist Barbara Richardson points out some people do not have a family for holiday celebrations.

The holidays are a good time to reach out to friends. Perhaps, you can go to the discount movies, a free community event together, or plan a special meal with friends bringing something. Remember not to overdo it – you don’t want the celebration to become a chore.

Privacy Officer Lynn Boyes says small traditions make her passionate and positive during the holidays:

  • Setting up the Nativity Set on my dining table.
  • Walking through Utica Square in the evening and watching the children in line eagerly awaiting to see Santa Claus.
  • Watching my grandkids open their stockings to find all the goodies from Santa Claus.
  • Purchasing gifts for those less fortunate than me.
  • Watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
  • Lighting cinnamon, sugar cookie, pumpkin and/or wintergreen scented candles.

So, before heading into the holiday season, think about what’s important to you, what makes the holidays memorable, and how to slow down and savor the season.

Everyone at Counseling & Recovery Services wishes you and yours a positive holiday season.