It’s Happy Holiday season and many of us are looking for ways to keep the happy this year. This familiar greeting is used to spread good wishes and it is often an inclusive substitute for the more specific Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah or Happy Kwanzaa.
But what does it really mean to the person you greet? What does it mean to you?
When we shout out Happy Holidays to our neighbour across the street are we wishing they’ll get lots of gifts under the tree, or receive a huge holiday bonus? Maybe we hope their time with loved ones will be quiet and peaceful.
Dictionary meanings of the word happy or happiness vary. One says it’s showing pleasure or feeling contentment. Another says it means fortunate or lucky, like “I’d be happy if I won the lottery.” What’s your definition?
When you think about it, some things come to mind immediately. I think we all want to enjoy their time with family and friends; maybe get in some time alone to reflect on the past year and the future.
Some people see the holiday season as an opportunity for bragging rights: the biggest tree, the most elaborate meal, the most expensive gifts. Do you feel that’s expected of you? Does it make you happy?
Others are happiest when they’re alone or just with very special people. For them, it’s more important to get away to a cottage or a lonely cabin on a desert island. The best part is stepping away from all the stress and responsibility and just chill out.
Here’s a thought. Sometime in the next week or so, sit down by yourself – completely alone – and think about when you are happiest. Is it when you are alone or at a big party? Is it the buzz of the city during the holidays or outside communing with nature? Maybe spending time with the kids tobogganing or creating the finest dinner for that special other is best.
Okay, now you’ve thought about it and you’ve come up with some ideas about your own happiness. But something is still missing. Shouldn’t the holidays be more about others’ happiness than out own. So far, this piece has been pretty much about me. If there’s something missing when you think about the Happy in Happy Holidays, maybe it’s giving a little kindness to someone else. And not just those in your immediate circle, and not just at the holidays. Here’s the reality.
It’s NOT expensive. It’s NOT time-consuming. It’s NOT out of the way.
It IS thoughtful. It IS short and sweet. It IS close to you.
And best of all, it has the power to make you happy in a way you’d never expect. That’s a proven fact.
So here are some giving ideas to get you started. Go ahead, try one. It won’t hurt a bit.
Research is clear that giving back helps our own mental health in so many ways. The holiday season should be a season of joy – unless you need help. If you want more ideas, or to learn about the philosophy and the benefits of showing small kindnesses every day go to 365give.com. When you give a little you get a lot back. Still looking for some more giving ideas for the holidays? Have a look at our fun reverse advent calendar ideas that will keep you giving all month long! We include some free Reverse Advent calendars as well!