The Whole World is Sparkling - Happy HolidaysThis year it seems as though the whole world is sparkling. The holidays have a way of helping us to see the magic that’s all around us. I’m finding myself more excited this year for Santa to give us a visit than perhaps I have been in a long time. It seems to me that more than ever, it’s time that we embraced the wonder of this season and wish everyone Happy Holidays.

The connections that we make together are made through traditions. They help us to grow stronger. Holiday lights, festive food, winter parties, gifts, and songs – when times get tough, these are the bright lights that keep us going.

That’s why I hold on so tightly to the traditions that I remember as a child – they help me to feel better about what’s going on in life – not just then but all the way to now that I’m an adult! That’s what I hope for my children too. I want to give them rich and memorable holiday traditions that they can look back to in order to propel them forward when life isn’t so easy.

In this amazing place such as California we have so many diverse and meaningful traditions in the last month of the year. Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, and more. What we keep coming back to is – that all of them are the same – they’re about sharing love and opening our hearts. No matter where we go in life, or what our childhood traditions were, it’s almost universal that we come back to the hallmarks of the holidays when we need a boost.

Though my holiday traditions as a child took place on the other side of the planet and in a winter climate that was nothing like the beautiful and mostly warm winter skies of California, my childhood traditions live on within me, giving me hope when I need it. The holidays transcend time and space, weather and even the people around us.

Why is that? Why are they so special? Why are they timeless?

The holidays are a time that we open our hearts. That’s what makes them special and timeless. Think about that feeling that swells up in your chest when the holiday spirit comes over you. No matter what your culture might be, that feeling is there! It’s that feeling of warmth and joy right there in your heart that makes the holidays so special.

Some years we have to work harder to find it, and that’s ok. It’s important to keep trying until we do, and once we find the holiday spirit, we are all the better for it and so thankful to have found it.

Like a warm blanket or a spot next to the crackling fire on a snowy day, the holidays liven up our bodies and enrich our spirits. Holiday magic might be sparked from the candles, the songs, the food, or the decorations, but it’s a very personal thing that lives within each of us.

Life is beautiful and rich. The challenges that we face don’t have to hold us back, even in the darkest of times. Look at the way that we treat each other during this most magical time of year, and then let’s carry that hope forward with us as much as we can throughout the year!

Sing loud, even if it’s out of key. Dance with joy. Eat and drink. Wrap presents. Open presents. Put on a silly hat. Make memories. Let go of the bad things that you have experienced this year and instead allow yourself to be overwhelmed with joy. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, it will propel you to a brighter day, and a brighter life. That brightness can then spread to others, creating a warm community that’s more than it was before.

The winter season is a powerful one if we’ll let it touch our spirit. All of the stress and struggle that we’ve been facing can melt away. We come together as a community to celebrate the joys and to let the disappointments and sorrow pass into the distance behind us.

Let’s  celebrate the real meaning of the holidays – a time for us to partake in the spirit that will get us through anything!

Happy holidays, everybody!