Lifestyle

More Meaning, Less Money – Creating Celebrations to Cherish

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Every year people say they want to simplify the holidays, cut down on financial stress and rediscover the true meaning of the season. Yet every year, we find ourselves fighting holiday traffic and lines to shop, racking up too much credit card debt and not finding all the time we want for family and friends.

It doesn’t have to be like this, though. People often say they love Thanksgiving because it is all about getting together rather than spending money and giving gifts. Here are some tips to reclaim the true spirit of the holidays:

Say thanks, specifically.

While any form of appreciation is a gift, there’s nothing like being acknowledged for something specific you’ve done for someone. Consider shining a spotlight on a particular time your loved one did something really generous or loving on your behalf. Whether it was a small act of kindness or an act of heroism, relive the memory by thanking your mother, father, brother, sister, wife, husband, child, grandparent or friend for that special moment.

Share and simplify.

Many families are rediscovering the joy of sharing during the holidays as a family activity. Some charities have gift catalogs that allow you to buy essentials such as farm animals or drinking water wells for people in the poorest parts of the world. Or you can get together to buy gifts for a giving tree, or cook a meal for a local family in need. Some families also simplify by going in together to buy one nice gift for each family member, or by picking names to exchange gifts. It is important to agree in advance how you are going to handle holiday gift-giving. For some families, these options help restore the meaning of the season and cut down on the stress of having to choose, buy and wrap so many gifts.

Set aside time to catch up.

Time together is the best present of all. For families who have been separated by time or distance, it can take some time to catch up and really connect. Make sure you allow plenty of time together and take the time to find out how your family members are really doing.

Remember to reassure.

The greatest gift for any parent is to know that their sons and daughters are fine. The point is not that things are perfect, but that even with all the inevitable ups and downs and everything that’s happened or not, your life really does fundamentally work, and you appreciate your family for helping make that possible.

Tell them you love them.

People express love in a lot of different ways, but sometimes we don’t say the words. Family celebrations during the holidays and the rest of the year are a good time to make sure our loved ones know they are loved.

Most people think they can only tell another person “I love you” if they have all of the emotions and all of the experience of love. But you can also say “I love you” and create the experience and feelings of loving as you say it. If we consciously use our words in this way, they can be a positive force to help us renew our connections, build more caring relationships and create joyful memories.

Thank you David Cunningham for sharing this holiday article with The San Diego Entertainer.  Cunningham is a communication expert and seminar leader for Landmark Education, a personal and professional growth, training and development company that’s had more than 1.2 million people use its programs to cause breakthroughs in their personal lives as well as in their communities, generating more than 100,000 community projects around the world. In The Landmark Forum, Landmark’s flagship program, people cause breakthroughs in their performance, communication, relationships and overall satisfaction in life. For more information, please visit www.landmarkeducation.com.

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