I realize that for many, it is a sad time where they are reminded of what they lack: money or family connection or loved ones now passed away. Many have also made the valid and true point that one should not wait for the holidays to be grateful for that which we *do* have. However, I find that the human mind too often forgets its blessings, so while I am not Christian, Jewish or of any Pagan traditions, and the holidays mean nothing to me religiously, it is still a beautiful time of sharing, giving and being grateful.
I'm blessed to be financially able to give gifts to those I love; however, I found that over the years, I've come to understand the "art of giving", because anyone can give someone 10$ or a coffee shop gift card, but it takes a pure soul to give it to someone who did not expect to receive a gift, who may not have thought they deserved a gift even!
Of course, gift cards and cash may not be financially viable options, still, to this day, nothing has warmed my mother's heart more than a homemade gift and that rings true of most parents but also of many friends and acquaintances. The true art of giving is in knowing what to give: it could be as easy as knitting a headband for the hijabi who's been struggling to put a tuque up top her hijab (HOLLA sisters of the Great White North!), Sharpie-ing a personal message on a white mug for a fellow coffee drinker or making a painting for someone. Yes, some of those homemade gifts require some skills but some honestly only require some creativity!
The truth about gift-giving is that the gift hardly ever matters, what truly matters is the intention.
For those who may not be fortunate enough to have those to share with or who may not be willing to partake in a celebration materialistic belongings, the art of giving is not solely material: your time is by far the most valuable thing you can give, whether by spending time with loved ones who may not receive of your presence so often, by volunteering with those less fortunate or by taking someone's shift so that they can spend the holidays in a manner that is meaningful for them. Most important is to remember to be grateful, for what you have and who you have, and most importantly, who you are.
So for this season, whether you celebrate Channukah, Cheistmas, Yule, Festivus, the Solstice, the year end or if you have no special celebration belonging to the season, I wish you peace of mind and remembrance that you are unique, beautiful and loved, by family, friends and by God.
Peace and blessings everybody!