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Tuesday, December 23, 2003

I've sort of been weaving in and out of the holiday spirit, but I think that's pretty common. I go through it year after year, and so, it seems, does the rest of the world. Some people make more of an effort to feel good about it than others. Some don't care at all. It might seem at times that they're the lucky ones, but I don't really believe that.

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the season. But we can enjoy this time of year without putting so much pressure on ourselves. It doesn't have to be the best year ever, every year. It can't be, can it? All we can do is make the best of the hand we're dealt, and try to remember to keep things in perspective.

The only thing I'm sure of is that the details, the who-got-what-from-whom and the soggy stuffing and the deformed tree and even the miserable, horrible, very bad weather, will be left to their proper place in family lore. Packages will be torn into, tossed aside and forgotten in much less time than it took to find and wrap them. It's all stuff. It doesn't matter.

What matters is that families come together, and children get excited, and stories are shared. There are tears and laughter and fights and making up. Doors are slammed and then opened again.

In the long run, in the bigger picture, the details don't count. The only way for one person to be happy is for another person to be happy. A smile or a hug or a simple nod can bring more joy than the most expensive item in the catalog. The real gift is sharing the best part of yourself. Everyone has something to give, and it takes very little effort (or ribbon or tape) to give it. That I do believe.

23 December 2003

Of course, actual presents are important, too. These are the ones I'm giving.

Some people choose to be alone, and I'm not one to begrudge them that right. I'm content to spend most of my time in no one's company but my own. But my heart goes out to anyone who's alone only because they have no one to share a special day with. It makes me cherish my own good fortune all the more.

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Jon Carroll has written his annual column promoting the Untied Way. It's worth reading. It might even be worth acting on, if not now then some time.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Making a List
"It's not at all unusual for me to look at the list on a cold December morning and decide there's nothing on it that can't wait until, say, January."

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