Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas Presence

And he puzzled three hours, 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!"
                      from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" 

With the holiday break nearly upon us, the anticipation of present Christmas morning is building. Or perhaps, with work commitments complete, there's still some last minute shopping to be completed in search of that perfect present for someone else.  Regardless of whether its figuring out what's in some enticing package under the tree, or just more musing about what to get someone else, I sure we'd all love to find the best present ever.

One way to go is to simply present a better outlook to the world. Dr. Leslie Becker- Phelps of Psychology Today summarizes this approach nicely. Concentrating on the four domains of better organizing personal and professional commitments, taking care of one's health, accepting present personal limitations and setting realistic goals for the future can help make a person more present-able, and subsequently more of a gift to be around.

Another option is to choose experiences over things. Psychological studies prove that experiences give people greater and more lasting happiness than possessions. A recent CNN report demonstrated that experiences create a greater sense of connectedness with others, while the impact of things, though initially well received, diminished over time. Like a fine wine, the memory of doing something improved with the passing of time, whereas material goods could be compared to other things and began to loose their luster.

There is also the idea that time is the greatest gift people can give or receive, and using it wisely is the best way to reward ourselves.  Free lance writer Mari Hernandez-Tuten in a recent blog post indicates that spending time with others, especially children, makes your presence the presents. Just paying attention can create a connection that can have a lasting impact.

During the holiday break, with time away from work, everyone should make a point to give themselves some time to connect with others, and to reflect on how they might improve things for themselves and others. I know I'll be taking a break from Education Matters. The next post here won't be until just before New Year's.  May this holiday season bring you all you hope for and the New Year bring you much joy and laughter!  

"Welcome Christmas. Bring your cheer,
Cheer to all, both far and near."

   Dr. Suess

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