I’m just back home after a Thanksgiving trip to visit family in North Carolina, and decided to throw some random thoughts together for my Monday post, though these thoughts are somewhat related.
Here we are just one month away from Christmas. The old familiar song calls it “the most wonderful time of the year”, but I know better. This is the time of year we stress about getting things done before the end of the year and about buying presents for friends and family. And then of course, there is the stress over finances. This is a stress that hits us all: individuals, businesses, and nonprofits.
Of course today is Cyber Monday, a day of online shopping, following up on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. All of which can add to the stress if we let it.
Sometimes vacations can be stressful, at least the travel part of them. On Wednesday we left early in the morning, trying to get a jump on traffic and actually make our 9 hour trip in 9 hours. Well, one hour into the trip, just as we hit the Mason-Dixon line, we got a flat tire. Long story short, we ended up getting picked up by a rather interesting, but very friendly gentleman who gave us a most likely “less than legal” ride on the back of his tow truck. While we waited for our tire to be replaced, we were directed to a pizza place across the street for the “best breakfast in town”, all before 7:30 in the morning. Sure enough, despite being a pizza joint, it was a pretty darn good breakfast, and I think the whole town was there.
What normally would have been a stress creating situation ended up being a fun time for my family of five, despite losing three hours on our trip. And if you want the full version of the story, and why it was funny, you’ll have to ask me in person some time.
This doesn’t have to be a stressful time of year. We can choose to have an attitude that will prevent stress from creeping up on us. As I mentioned last week, some of that comes more from a spirit of giving than of receiving, and focusing on what matters most.
Spending Thanksgiving with family and maintaining contact with friends over the past week was especially meaningful this year as last week began with the death of a friend. Mike passed of a heart attack at the age of 36, leaving two kids behind. Nothing puts our little “first world problems” in perspective more than that.
So despite having a busy schedule over the next month, along with holiday preparations, and visitors in our home for several weeks, I’m going to work hard to enjoy the season, and avoid the stress. And remember, we can also help others avoid stress by helping them out. Check in on your elderly neighbors or those in need. Donate to a nonprofit. Do something good with your time.
If you’re looking for a way to give this season, there are plenty of great causes, but I have one suggestion in particular. I mentioned my friend Jersey Mike and the two kids he left behind. A fund has been set up for young Kaiya and Lennon. Christmas is already going to be very difficult for their family, but even more so in the months to come, as they continue to mourn the loss of their father. You can help out by sending donations to:
K & L Guardian Foundation c/o Jayson Bowser 1518 Green Street Harrisburg, PA 17102.
So let’s get this holiday season started right by not stressing over finances, gifts, shopping, business, or whatever it is that stresses us out, and reach out to do something nice for someone else.
Sound like a plan?
Let’s really make this the most WONDERFUL time of the year, shall we?
- Five Top Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress in Your Dog (moreaboutmydogs.com)
- Are you productive or just busy? (kaarinadillabough.com)
- Having a Spirit of Gratitude (inklingmedia.net)