No Christmas socks for me!

And so it has begun! Well actually, according to the retail calendar, the holidays actually began sometime early in October.  As we head into what can sometimes be a hectic stressful season, I plan to take time to remind myself daily about what is truly important about the holidays.

I just read that in addition to Black Friday, we now have Cyber Monday, Green Tuesday and Magenta Saturday.  Really???  

Several weeks ago I was at the local Target, where the holiday section of lights, candy, gifts, decorations and cards took up an entire corner of the store. I was in the socks section where I overheard an exasperated mother telling her young boy: “NO, I am not getting you Christmas socks! We are Jewish!”

I had to smile as we are truly bombarded with messages about the holidays. And many are asking us to buy something or to be something different than who we are.  The constant sales messaging during this time is relentless. It takes effort to stay focused on our own values. 

We have all heard the sad statistics that tend to escalate during the holidays: suicide and family violence are generally on the rise during this time. We know that spending often outpaces resources at hand.  In this difficult economy with so many of our friends and neighbors un- or under-employed, the holidays just add to the stress.  When I think back on my memories of holidays growing up, I remember laughter and family and singing.  I remember my grandfather with his video camera, and blinding lights that always made my sister and me look as startled as two deer in headlights.  I remember only a handful of those gifts, but what I truly recall is the feeling of the holidays and the togetherness of our family.  I am so grateful to have these memories, especially in a year when loss seems so close. 

Each year Lindsay, Ted and I make donations in honor of our family members. We believe this gift honors them — and I think honors the meaning of our holiday season.

My wish for each of you is to spend time with people you love, to reach out in love and kindness and to hug those who are important to you, to thank someone for their kindness and to take time to treasure what is truly important.