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The holidays: time for “a little bit more”

Every holiday season, my mother has to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life.” One colleague’s family tradition is “A Rugrats Chanukah.” And my husband? He’s not happy until he’s seen “Die Hard” at least twice.

As for me, my favorite winter movie has always been “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The part that moves me is when the Narrator describes the Grinch looking down on the celebrating Whos. He’s stolen their presents, their decorations, and their food. Every material trapping of their holiday is gone… but they still sing! As the Narrator puts it:

“He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more.”

That thought is the reason I’ve always been thrilled to experience the winter holidays. There were times when the anticipation of seeing a flying reindeer had me wide awake in bed at 3am. Later on, I was just glad for a break from classes and exams. These days, all I really want is to see the family members I miss all year… and possibly to overindulge in eggnog.

It doesn’t matter if you celebrate Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice or the childlike wonder of Santa Claus. I have loved ones who travel to see family, and others who create memories with friends. I know people who simply must hear the same carols every year, and others who purposefully combine old and new traditions with results like Tandoori Chicken for Christmas dinner.

Whether your celebration finds you in church or by the fireside in your PJs, I think the point of the holidays has always been taking a breath to appreciate and revel in that “little bit more.”

After all, life is eternally full of the same possibilities we embrace at the holidays. Theoretically, we could always spend a little more time with our favorite people, or cook a special meal just because it makes us happy.

But at the holidays, the rest of the world slows down, too. Everyone feels warm and cozy at the same time, which creates a beautiful space to take in all the good stuff. When you can sleep in a little later, and smiles start to come a little easier, it feels like what we’re all really celebrating is being together in a shared moment.

We’re celebrating being part of something bigger than ourselves – whatever that “bigger” may be.

Every winter, I notice how blessedly easy it is to find meaning all around me once I just slow down. There are so many beautiful moments, from a fresh snowfall to the lit candles in my neighbors’ windows. Earlier this week, I felt a profound sense of kinship when a co-worker picked the perfect novel as a gift for me. That book was more than a holiday present. It was a reminder of how lucky I am to work with people who know and understand me.

I hope this year’s holidays offer you a space to remember what you really believe in. Whether it’s the Christmas miracle or your cultural heritage; the generosity of volunteering or the basic goodness of people: may you find time to embrace the “little bit more.”

From MedPost, with wishes for a joyful holiday season

– Jennie Saia, Contributing Editor