Christmas in America is depicted as a time of peace on Earth and good will to men full of family joy and happiness, but that’s not the reality for many people. Rather than Santa Claus coming to town, Christmas brings a time of depression, loneliness and want.
Some of the leading causes of holiday stress are:
- Absence of a loved one
- Family strife
- Financial stresses
- Unrealistic expectations
- Seasonal Emotional Disorder
Instead of a white Christmas with chestnuts roasting over an open fire and yuletide carols being sung by a choir, we buy things we can’t afford, attend parties with people we don’t like, and fret over loved ones we long to see and those we wish we never saw again.
In its simplest form giving is one person sharing something with another person. But often the act of giving or sharing is overshadowed by unrealistic expectations, spending or relational. So how do we put the spirit of giving back into our Christmas?
Below are some ideas to simplify Christmas:
- Set a Christmas budget and keep it
- Give less
- Spend less
- Give charitably
- Set realistic expectations
- Take time to be thankful
- Find time to rest
One way to experience true giving is to do something this holiday for someone who can never return the favor.
Create several Sharing Bags and place them in your car or purse or backpack.
Fill a Ziploc baggie with the following:
- Soap and washcloth (or towelettes)
- Fast food restaurant gift card for $5-$10 (optional)
As you go about your daily routine, look for people in need, on the side of the road, outside the local supermarket. Then give them one of your Sharing Bags. You won’t solve all their problems but you will let them know that they were seen and heard for a minute. Make this Christmas one to remember. Take time to focus on those around you.
Image: Woman Holding Gift — © Royalty-Free/Corbis