3 Quotes To Inspire A Better Holiday Season (Okay, Plus Bonus Quotes)
By D.C. McGannon
The world is upside down. It’s just a big, fat, ugly mess.
So it seems.
During the holidays, so much of the world simply becomes a blur. Maybe you've experienced "the blur" too.
But that doesn’t mean that we, as individuals, need to be a tangled mess (or remain in "the blur"). And we don’t have to be involved in making matters worse, either.
In fact, it’s us who can make this big, ugly, mess a whole lot less … messy.
I’m reminded of the lyrics from Depeche Mode’s popular and challenging song from 1984, “People Are People,” in which the question is asked:
“People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully”
It’s a question I feel we will be asking, perhaps, for the rest of our lives. But again, we can make a positive difference right now, right here. So let’s get started.
Holidays for most (like weekends, birthdays, and lazy Sunday afternoons) are little pockets of fresh air on our calendars, or at least they should be. These are times to pull back, re-assess our lives and our place in the world, and to re-engage fresh, hopeful, and with positive action.
But first, we must pull back …
Pull Back With Humor
"Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice." –Dave Barry
Face it: things are going to get crazy during the holidays. Heck, they’re already crazy going in. We simply dial it up a bit (okay, a bunch) and then wait to see who loses it first (and biggest, have you seen YouTube lately?).
Shopping, the over-influx of media messages, cranky family members, money issues, emotions stretched thin (like, razor thin, right?)—all of this and more lead us down a black hole with little hope of finding our way out.
Instead of getting sucked into that cosmic vortex of holiday undoing, step back and laugh a little.
Yep, I said it. Laugh!
Laughter releases steam. Finding humor in even the smallest details is like a valve that slowly lets the pressure off.
The science backs up the idea that “laughter is the best medicine.”
Studies have shown that laughter can activate your positive stress response, increase the intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulating vital organs, and cause your brain to release endorphins, all the while aiding in systemic relaxation.
It’s difficult, I know, to laugh when you’re in the thick of it. But if we are to survive intact on the other side of this, or any other stressful season, we’re going to need to pull back a little and laugh.
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
Secondly, take some time at some point and re-assess your place in the world …
“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but reflection.”
Have you ever seen those memes that show the big, wide expanse of the universe with a little dot in the middle of it? Next to the dot is an arrow pointing to the dot, with a statement to the effect of, “This is you” or "You Are Here."
It’s meant to help us remember just how little we are in the big picture of the universe. I don’t believe it’s meant to belittle us, however, rather simply give us some perspective. Most of what we experience (especially negative) will pass with the season. So you and I must learn to pick our battles in the scheme of things.
You may also be the very center of someone else’s universe. A child’s. A friend’s. A loved one’s. Sometimes, even a stranger’s. This is huge!
What should you focus on today so that you can be free enough to invest in someone else’s life? What’s your real place in the world? Are you taking care enough of yourself so that you can give out of an abundance of your own heart and soul?
See, you are important, and you play a vital role in the lives of those around you. Even if it is a smile or a kind gesture, it means a lot. Think of how you feel when you receive even the smallest gift or act of kindness. Now, you try. But do so with proper perspective.
Take some time today. You’ll be glad you did.
“Every piece of the universe, even the tiniest little snow crystal, matters somehow. I have a place in the pattern, and so do you.” -T.A. Barron
Then, re-engage fresh, positive, and with positive action …
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
–Hamilton Wright Mabie
Several years ago, a group my family was a part of met weekly to hang out, watch some of our favorite Christmas classics (you know, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, Frosty, and the like), make homemade hot chocolate, and just check in with each other to see how we were each doing, and then be there for each other if needed.
Taking some time to be around friends, seeking ways to encourage each other, and investing in a little laughter and nostalgia gave us the space and connection we needed to help others.
That same year, our group decided to adopt a family for Christmas. We knew of a family who was struggling. They had recently lost everything, including the stability of their own family. We all pitched in money and other resources, found out what was needed and what was being wished for among the members of that family, and we set out to make their season better.
Through a lot of tears, yet more laughter, hugs, and “putting our money where our mouth was,” so to speak, we were able to take action and make the world a little brighter for others. However, we would never have been able to do so much if we hadn’t taken the time to engage people within our world from a fresh perspective.
“Christmas, my child, is love in action.” –Dale Evans
So, let’s recap:
The world is a mess. Check.
We can make it better. Check.
Laugh a little bit more, get perspective, and re-engage with positive action. Check. Check. And, check.
Here’s another bonus for you (okay, two more) as we wrap up:
“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”
― Oren Arnold
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas
D.C. McGannon is co-author of the Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters series, and is co-host of The Monster Guys Podcast. When not traveling to conventions and talking about monsters and strange phenomena, he can usually be found moon gardening, hiking, or searching for his next cup of coffee.
D.C. is confident he can still breakdance with the best of them, but realizes his writing and speaking schedule is taking too much of his time. This is good news for all other break-dancers.
In addition to being an award-winning director, publisher, painter, and doodler, he plays a mean air guitar, and lives and dreams with Holly, Michael, Nathaniel, and their sweet puppy, Jewel, somewhere in the Midwest.
Mr. McGannon also co-hosts the Folk Tales Podcast, the Yokai Tales Podcast, and is a guest host for FolkloreThursday.com.
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