Some Self Improvement Thoughts Now That the Holidays Go Into Full Gear

The holidays are now in high gear. Every TV commercial says “Buy, Buy, Buy.” Some even suggest that you get a loan so you can buy those expensive gifts you think each member of your family wants (and needs?) After all, will 5-year-old Tommy ever respect you again if you don’t give him his own cell phone with music, video, and text messaging? (of course, he can’t read or spell but so what?) Will 13-year-old Jessica ever forgive you if she doesn’t receive those $120 designer jeans? Does your wife expect diamonds or your husband expect a Rolex even though you’re on a tight budget? Or, hey, how about having twin Mercedes sitting in the driveway on Christmas morning like the commercials instruct?

Get real.

At the foundation of self-improvement is knowing what you believe and how that belief system shows up in your everyday life. When your beliefs are yours and not what you were told you must believe and your boundaries are clear, you can celebrate how you choose to celebrate. That celebration may be traditional or avant guarde and it will be meaningful to you. You may choose not to celebrate at all and that is certainly an option as well. Being able to do this requires high self-esteem and balance in your life.

Let’s look at the holidays we celebrate:

Christmas: a celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Hanukkah (Chanukah): the festival of lights that celebrates the re-dedication of the temple at the time of the Maccabee rebellion.

Kwanzaa: a unique African American celebration with focus on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement. Kwanzaa is neither political nor religious and despite some misconceptions, is not a substitute for Christmas. It is simply a time of reaffirming African-American people, their ancestors, and culture.

Two are religious celebrations and one is a celebration of family and culture. I know the history of Santa Claus and, essentially, it has nothing to do with the above three celebrations and Santa doesn’t relate to the present day commercialism, either.

No, my name is not Scrooge and I love the gifting at Christmas/Hannukah as much as anyone.

I love the:

  •  smell of all that wonderful food, the pine scent of the tree
  • scent of candles.
  • excitement of the children and their eagerness to shred the fancy paper and get to what it hides.
  • family coming together and talking about old times and what-might-have-been as well as what-is- now.
  • seeing the new babies, and hugging the grandmas and granddads
  • seeing how much the nieces and nephews have grown.

But, give me a break. What does this have to do with Christmas, Hannukah or Kwanzaa?

Let’s at least get honest about what it is we are celebrating and let’s make our own rules about exactly how we want to celebrate it. Don’t let peer pressure or the merchandisers tell you what to do or what and how much to buy or how it is you will celebrate Christmas, Hannukuh or Kwanzaa.

Happy Holidays.

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