It’s the holiday season.

I personally think Andy Williams had the best rendition of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. It brings an instant smile to my face every single time I hear it.  I love the holidays.  I love the food (a little too much).  I love seeing the smile on Beanster’s face when he hears a carol he likes, a beautiful tree in a store, or a well placed set of Christmas lights on a house.

I am a kid at heart, I suppose, and so I always look forward to the holidays.  I make sure that each holiday gets it full measure.  I’m not so big on Halloween and so I decorate for fall with plain old pumpkins and leaves and, perhaps, a jaunty plain ribbon for a nice touch.  Thanksgiving just allows me to ramp it up a notch and cook some amazing dishes that I save for just that time of year.

But, Christmas…

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas.  I love the songs, the lights, the trees, the ornaments, the parades, the movies (oh, the movies), the candy, the cooking, the family get-togethers, the Christmas card, the vacation time, the gifts (the list goes on).

Living here in the south, we tend to sweat through the holiday.  I’ve spent the day in shorts before.  It’s usually not very cold on Christmas day, as a rule, and we never get snow.  Well, never say never.  I always have those dreams of a white Christmas.  My bucket list includes a Christmas vacation in a cozy cabin the mountains, complete with snow.  A real fir tree of some sort decorated in the corner, with garlands of greenery sweeping along the stair rail, and a big, fresh green wreath on the front door.  A dreamy fireplace with a super cozy fire (just right for roasting marshmallows) is usually in the image in my head, too.

But, I also understand that this time of year can be very difficult for those who are going through some things.  The recent fires in TN and the surrounding states, the families who have lost loved ones, the ones who have recently lost a job and are wondering how they are going to make it, the ones who have received that awful diagnosis, the ones who children are in bad shape and have lost their way.  This world is filled with tragedy and sorrow.  People are dealing with fresh grief and some are weighed down with the past on their backs.  Either way, there are people who are having trouble dealing with life.

It’s very difficult to know how to help people make it through this time of year.  Everyone has their own coping strategies.  It’s not our job to give answers.  We don’t know what an individual is going through.  But we can help.  We can be kind.  We can show love.  We can give.  We can be the hands and feet that help make this world a better place.  Intentionally.  In small ways and big ways.  Personally or anonymously.

So, as you go through this season of hope, peace, and joy, remember those who aren’t so fortunate and try to reach out with compassion.  There are so many organizations that do so much for the other 7 billion human beings on this planet.  Let’s give it a shot and try to help make this earth a better place.  This is the season of hope, after all.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all of you out there.  Peace and blessings to you all.

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