Many of us often get the feeling that the December holidays could be more meaningful, with a little less emphasis on the material, don’t you agree? Have the holidays become too commercial for you? Making some simple changes, adding a few easy activities – for yourself, your family and friends – will ensure a more meaningful holiday. Following are some ideas.
Learn and then share with others, the spiritual and symbolic meaning of various practices from the traditions of different faiths:
- The candles are lit on Hanukah to symbolise the light of the Creator in our lives.
- The Christmas wreath is a symbol of the eternal circle of life.
- The gifts shared during Kwanzaa represent the deep connection between parents and children. (Wikipedia: The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning first fruits of the harvest).
- The sun’s return and warmth are celebrated during the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, and the bounty of summer and the harvest, in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa or the Winter Solstice, share the beautiful miracles within each faith and then have your loved ones share some of the miracles in their own lives.
Practicing gratitude during the holidays means not only to show appreciation for the material gifts, but also for all the many intangible blessings in our lives. Give gifts from the heart that show how grateful you are to have your loved ones in your life. You can empower yourself and loved ones with tools to make the holidays more meaningful by doing something special for the less fortunate, such as spending time with a lonely elderly person in an old-age home, or giving groceries to someone less fortunate than you are.
Celebrate differences because we can only truly come together in unity once we embrace these differences. You essentially need to slow down enough to enjoy the essence of your loved ones and of the holidays. Our children, families and friends are at the heart of rediscovering the true meaning of the holidays, as one of rest, recovery and reflection.