They complain as they turn up the television and shush their children. They complain on Facebook about how no one remembers the reason for the season.
Honestly, if you gathered a room full of people, you would likely be hard pressed to get them to agree on the actual reason for the season, because it is different for everyone.
For some, it is a religious holiday; a celebration to acknowledge the birth of a savior.
For others, it is the beginning of the winter solstice; the beginning of winter, starting with the shortest day of the year.
For others, it is a celebration of light and the miracles of God; a time when lamps burned miraculously.
For others, it is a time to share gifts with those you love, as an expression of your love, friendship and devotion.
Regardless of your personal reason behind celebrating the Christmas or holiday season, there are things you can do to make this time of year more meaningful and more personal.
Often times, people confuse spending extraordinary amounts of money with a meaningful experience. The truth is that you don’t have to spend any money to enjoy the fullness of the holiday season.
Think about the people closest to you. That list might include your partner, your children, family and friends. Now, think about what you like best about them and what you like to do with them. What do they enjoy doing? Put some thought into the important people in your life. What do they really like?
How can you invest in the people closest to you, without spending any money?
My son loves to play with Legos. We have thousands of them, strung from one end of the house to the other. I have learned to walk with a light step, lest I should stumble in the dark over an intricate Lego helicopter. I once destroyed a Lego McDonalds with one ill-placed step in the dark hallway.
Although I’m sure my son would love me to buy him more Legos for Christmas, there are other ways I can pour into his life. I could spend some time on the floor, actually playing with him. I could stop and listen to him when he speaks, and look directly at him, rather than continuing to type, as if my work is more important than what he has to say.
To fully experience the holidays, I could spend some time with my teen-aged daughters, truly listening to what they are going through, instead of nodding absent-mindedly while I make dinner.
I could actually involve the kids in the meal making process, rather than getting irritated with them as I make dinner and wash the dishes for the millionth time.
With my friends, I could offer support and encouragement over a cup of hot tea. It only takes a moment to truly listen to someone.
Life is what you make of it, and that includes the Christmas season. If you are distracted and irritated in your life, chances are you will be distracted and irritated during the holidays.
When you take a moment to be fully present for yourself and those around you, you give the best present of all. You become part of the experience. You get to feel what is happening now. You get to release stress, irritation and judgment and just enjoy whatever moment you are in.
Christmas is the perfect time to remind yourself to stay here now. Breathe deeply of the cold, crisp air. Appreciate the deep clear blue sky. Don’t fret about things. Instead, invest in the people around you and immerse yourself in the holiday experience.