Celebrate, but remember the reason for the season

Christmas is tomorrow. Most families and friends gather on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to remember good times, bad times, those who are not with us and to rejoice for those who are with us today. While enjoying familiar holiday family traditions such as special meals, special drinks, the exchange of presents and even reading stories, it is easy to return to a childlike state of mind. Christmas is a magical time of the year.

For some, Christmas is a happy time. Some of us get a few extra days off. We have the opportunity to spend more time with our children. We have the opportunity to create new holiday traditions. We are reminded of the reason for the season.

For others, Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year. Some live far away from family and cannot afford to return home. Some are ill or recently widowed. Whatever the reason, no one should be alone during the holidays. Don't let yourself or someone else spend the holidays alone. Accept invitations that have been extended to you and extend a few invitations yourself. Reach out.

We all have special relatives that bring out the worst in us. Don't let that person get the best of you and ruin your holiday. Remember there is something good about everyone. Try to see the good in this person just for one day. Whether you like it or not, your special relative is a part of your past, present and future.

If you suspect you are that special relative, try altering your behavior for the day. Remember that silence can be golden.

Don't make light of the presents you receive. Instead remember what was in the heart of the giver. Focus on the time they spent choosing your present. Try to imagine what that person was thinking when they bought that gift. If the gift is not up to your standards, never let the giver know. He or she may have had the best of intentions, but perhaps not the money to meet your standards. If you absolutely cannot tolerate your gift, donate it to your favorite charity. That gift you discarded is someone else's treasure.

If this wasn't the best year of your life and you endured hardships, remember the best is yet to come. Don't reflect on the bad things that have happened in your life, wrongdoings of others or what should have been. Be strong and never lose your footing. Focus on what is ahead for you. You are in control of your destiny. Reflect on your accomplishments. If your accomplishments are few, this can be changed in 2009 by working harder, faster and smarter than others surrounding you.

Most of all remember and celebrate the reason for the season. Hug those around you for you may never have the opportunity to celebrate with them again. Treasure every moment. There is a lot to look forward to in 2009. With that said, have a safe and happy holiday season.

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