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14

Holiday Sentiments

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Now as we get ready for the holidays and gear up for the “shop till you drop” and “party like its 1999” season, I think it’s important to take a moment to remember what this time of the year is really about, the gifts you already have and the gifts you can share.

Our AAHAM members give very generously of their time and this is a tremendous gift. This seems to instill a tremendous sense of joy, purpose and perspective. I am very grateful for what our AAHAM members contribute.

The famed retired professional basketball player Alonzo Mourning said, “You didn’t get here by yourself. You don’t win games by yourself. This whole process of life isn’t alone, it happens in connection to other people.” These are powerful words to reflect on during the holiday season. There are people who helped us along the way and showed us the many kindnesses that have helped us achieve and be who we are today. Gratitude and generosity go hand in hand.

During the holidays and the end of yet another year, as we draw closer to family and friends, gratitude and generosity are important to remember. I’m big into gratitude these days, I’m so lucky to have so much to be grateful for.

Generosity isn’t necessarily the gifts that are wrapped under the tree or under the menorah. Generosity is helping your fellow citizen (or an animal) walking this earth and your city. I always feel sentimental when I see the Salvation Army’s red kettle and hear their bell ringers. My dad volunteered to do this with his Rotary chapter. He greatly enjoyed the experience knowing he was making a contribution of his time. I rarely pass a red kettle without contributing (and getting a bit choked up) and know he would be pleased.

There are charity ladies who volunteer to wrap books at our mall’s Barnes and Noble. They may not be speedy but it’s wonderful they are giving their time to raise money for their charity’s cause.      

Something homemade can easily replace store bought gifts and are often more appreciated. My sister knits the family scarves each year. We all enjoy knowing she was thinking of us as she knitted. These are far more meaningful than if she purchased them…and warmer too!  Try to remember to thank the folks behind the scenes, who make your life a little easier; the office cleaning crew, the lady behind the lunch counter and  the person at the pharmacy who never gets your name right but gets you your prescription with a smile.   

I am deeply grateful for so many things each day. I think it’s important to not get so caught up in all the holiday hoopla and maybe try to simplify this year. Maybe it’s a few less presents, a few less decorations, and a few less parties….spending time with those you love and making memories from small things. Perhaps it’s a drive to see holiday lights or making homemade cookies with friends or family; these will be the things you cherish later in life. These are some of the gifts you can share.  

I wish you a wonderful holiday season!

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