Many people, especially those who are single, find it difficult to cope with the Holiday season. During a time that should be filled with warm connected feelings, some of us are plagued with concerns about money, aloneness and what the future holds. There are some surprisingly fulfilling ways to cope with the holiday blues that require very little money and help move our focus away from feelings of aloneness into the joy of sharing. Here are ten great tips.
Pick the important people in your life and create a small, special, hand made book out of paper shopping bags and string that you can decorate with glue, charms and things you have around the house. Similar little gift books sell for big prices in the novelty stores. On each page write a reason why this particular friend is special to you and tell them what they contribute to your life. There are no more important gifts than those that come directly from your heart to touch the heart of another. One year my seven year-old granddaughter wrote to me, “I feel like you are my heart cause you keep me safe.” Need I say more?
If you are single, select two or three other single friends and create your own special holiday celebration with each other. Make it an annual event. We have a tendency to believe, incorrectly, that we can only find love and caring from a mate. There are so many special blessings that come from cultivating lasting friendships. Make your focus that of counting the blessings you have in each other instead of the things you want that are not yet here.
If you do not have single friends, choose to create a special celebration for someone who is less fortunate than yourself. Check with an unwed mother’s home, a home for the elderly, an AIDS ward at your local hospital or a homeless shelter. You can either go there to visit or invite someone into your home. There is nothing that cures the holiday blues like making someone else happy. Remember, whatever you give away returns to you tenfold. If you are not financially able to create a dinner or provide a gift, your warm presence and caring can be the most precious offering of all. Volunteer to work on the food lines for the homeless or in a shelter or the fireman’s annual toy drive. The one thing you are never out of is love…share it.
If you have limited funds, create a basket of all the little things your friends love but never have time to buy. One year when my daughter was low on funds, she created a basket filled with my favorite soda, packets of microwave popcorn, my favorite razor blades and bath soap, and many other items she knew were my favorites. I was surprised and delighted both because it was wonderful to know she knew me so well that she had all my favorite things memorized, but also because I didn’t have to shop for these little nuisance items for months. It was great!
Create a basket of I.O.U.’s for the Holidays. Fill it with envelopes that contain a special gift of service that you intend to fulfill during the year. For instance, “I. O.U. one trip to the grocery store, one day of house cleaning, one drive to the coast, one quiet evening to talk, a breakfast in bed on Sunday morning.” If you like you, can put fifty-two envelopes in the basket and give one special gift of love for each week of the year.
Create a theme basket with all the changes in it that your friend or beloved has been asking you to give him or her. For instance, “I will give you one-half hour of listening to you without trying to change your perspective or make you feel bad for it. I will spend thirty-minutes holding you after making love. I will not say bad things about your mother. I will say I love you before leaving for work.”
The Holidays are a great time to heal a relationship with someone from whom you have you have become estranged. Write a letter, make time to schedule a visit or call a person who is important to you and remove the sense of separation between. Give the gift of making amends or just letting someone know you still care. No matter what their response might be, you have given a wonderful gift of your courage and love.
During the Holidays, take the time to sit quietly in some scenic or beautiful place and create an itemized list of all your blessings. Even if you feel your life is empty at the moment, you have eyes with which to see the beauty in the world. You have ears with which to hear the birds sing. You have arms with which to hold and comfort another. And you have the gift of life and time with which you can choose to begin again. You have the gift of the sun that lights your day and warms your face in the morning and the moon that brings you peace at night. You have the gift of music, laughter, the ocean, the earth and the right to embrace all of it. At any given moment, even when you are not aware of it, you are an integral part of the Universe and every gift of love you give, no matter how small, creates joy in the world for all of us.
© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013
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