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What You Can Do To Make Your Holidays More Meaningful

This Holiday Season should be the most meaningful and fulfilling time of year. We should feel warm, loved, and above all, be happy. But studies show year after year that isn't always the case. While millions of people enjoy the holidays, many more start feeling down in the dumps. Why? There are several good reasons. The Christmas season in the United States became commercialized about 150 years ago when large stores realized they could pull customers in with big Christmas specials.

Buying and giving gifts became a huge part of Christmas. All the gift buying could be your favorite part of the season, but a growing number of us report we spend too much, go into more debt, and don't feel all that great about it afterward. By January 1, you may feel like lots of good things were SUPPOSED to happen to you, but never did. The result can be an unpleasant case of the winter blues. Through all the hubub, you can forget the season is REALLY supposed to be about loving and helping others.

A clergy person and charities will probably remind you loving others is what the holidays are about, but somehow that all gets lost in the rush to give gifts and party. My message to you this Holiday Season is to take a little time out of your very busy schedule to help someone in need. You do more good than you'll know, and YOU will feel great about it. This could be as simple as giving a few cans of food to your local food bank so a hungry family can eat, or leaving still wearable cloths at a drop box, or inviting an elderly or single acquaintance to share dinner with your family. The impact on these individuals in need can be vast. Not only will people be getting the nutrition, clothing, and shelter they so often desperately need, they'll feel like someone cares. And knowing someone cares about you could well be the most important thing we can posses. Going through life knowing you're down and out and, even worse, no one cares, is a devastating thing that pushes people even lower. The holidays can worsen the situation by making people who are living alone feel even more alone. When you wake up on Christmas morning remembering when you had a family happily gathering around the tree, but now you have no one -- well, that's one of the hardest things in the world.

I, along with helpful volunteers, run a coffeehouse ministry on Long Island, NY. Each Thanksgiving everyone comes down to help prepare dinner for those who would be ALONE on this important day. People stream in to be part of the event. You can't imagine how many people struggle and would have been by themselves.They leave here like "family." As Christmas and New Years approach, do what you can to help someone. I guarantee your holidays will be more meaningful.


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