When the holidays approach, are you the one that spends an entire week in November decorating the house for Christmas, transforming the house into a sparkling fantasyland? Or are you the one that goes to Home Depot and buys two poinsettias and are done? Or maybe you intentionally keep putting it off, buy the required presents the week before Christmas and never get around to anything more? For many of us, it’s our favorite time of year and for many, instead of celebrating the holiday, wish we could go on holiday and escape the whole thing.

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The holidays seem to have a way of intensifying things. There’s more to do, to remember, to achieve and to take care of. There are the extra expenses and the extra people that require a card, a gift, a visit or an invitation. At the same time, the holidays remind us of the blessings of friends and family and of the spiritual aspects and the fullness of our life. Holidays admonish us to simply enjoy life and enjoy celebrating.

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Filled with so much, the holidays present the opportunity for transformation. Intense times and circumstances have a way of changing us, transforming our understanding. We can transform our home with beauty and light and nature during the holidays and we can do the same for ourselves. Sometimes it takes the discipline to not get exhausted, not get stressed, not overeat or over drink, and not get overwhelmed emotionally. It might be the time to reach out for help if we need it. Most importantly, the holidays create the chance to be there for others, supporting those with no resources and uplifting others with a smile, a kind word or a simple gesture of help. Inside and outside, the holidays present the gift of transformation.

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