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  • Marie Trout

The Merry Shopping Season

We eat ourselves into a coma gorging on as much food as we can stuff in our bellies on Thanksgiving and then rush out before dawn and try to stuff our shopping carts with more stuff… Stuff, stuff, stuff… Are we happier after all that food? Does the rush to consume make us feel whole and satisfied?

T’is the season to be jolly – and what exactly is it that makes us happy? Often we revert to the “shoulds” and “have to’s” at this time of year. We rush around because we have to “get everything done”. Christmas and the Holiday Season – what does it really mean to you?

I encourage you to make a list of what means the most to you at this time of year. What are your favorite memories of all time? What went into those memories? Was it stuff or was it people? Was it donating time in a soup kitchen and seeing the thankful faces that brought the most joy – or was buying gifts for others? Was it receiving gifts? Was it thinking up thoughtful gifts from the heart or was it stampeding to get the best and cheapest deal of the year? Was it making decorations with others, or was it hearing all the compliments from others? Was it doing the complimenting that felt the best? What was it? It might be eye-opening to also sit down with your family and make a list of such favorite moments together. What is important to them? What is it that makes you all feel special at this time of year?

Whatever has been the most meaningful for you and your family could lead you around the “shoulds” and the “have-to’s”. If you and your family love giving and receiving presents – great! Make that the most meaningful and joyous event possible. How can you increase the enjoyment? How can you make “games” or “rituals” that prolong the unwrapping and helps everybody delight in others’ presents as well as their own? Or how can you celebrate the love expressed in each gift? How can togetherness around playing with a toy, lighting candles, watching a movie or reading aloud be incorporated? What might be a new special thing to do together?

Maybe we sometimes think that we can buy, bake, eat, or decorate ourselves happy. And maybe that is part of the equation. There might be amazing joy to be found also in just being with others. Truly appreciating them. Giving them the gift of your undivided attention. Whether that person is in a homeless shelter or it is your spouse, child, mother or friend! What would it take for you to get through this season joyfully and feeling alive rather than being weighed down by it and feeling “put upon”?

Here’s to a Merry Conscious and Aware Holiday Season!

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