While on the bus this week, I watched as a little boy and his nanny got off and the boy turned around and said, ‘Thank you driver for driving us.’ Many of the passengers heard him and smiled, and the simple act of appreciation instantly lifted the mood of the bus.
For me, it was also a timely reminder during a season ratcheted up with commercialized bonhomie and good cheer for us to connect with everyday simple pleasures too. It’s hard to get away from the manufactured hype, as if the flick of the Christmas switch instantly channels us along a cascade of holiday preparations, bespoke gift buying and mirth, while for many, the ‘spirit of the season’ does not align with their current reality of struggles, anxiety and hardships.
It’s interesting that the chosen word for 2023 is ‘authentic’, which is a word we need more than ever at this time of year, to acknowledge what is authentic in our lives and in the world around us. It’s important to take time to detach from the pressures and relentless messaging of ‘getting the holiday right’ to pay attention to what is around us all the time, and to take pleasure from various things that are with us on a day-to-day basis. It could be a simple meal or petting a dog, seeing the moon glowing in the sky or a conversation with a neighbour or friend. These are gifts that are easy to acquire when we tune into our environment and can bring us both immediate and lasting satisfaction.
The real joy of this time of year, as in any other, are the blessings we have in our every day lives and ones we can pass on and share with others. This can also be an opportune time of year to reach out to those we love, those we are thinking about and those who are in need.
Enjoy the holiday decorations and lights, but if this season is about celebrating light, then let’s bring forth our own inner light too. Kindness is in short supply these days and taking time to be kind whenever we’re able and spreading joy are the greatest gifts we can pass along to one another, not just for the holiday season, but for always.