For so many, the time between Thanksgiving and today is a blur of rushing to buy and wrap gifts, cleaning our homes, decorating for the holidays, greeting friends and neighbors, signing and sending seasonal greetings and, of course, driving our children or grandchildren from one holiday event to another.
As you hopefully settle in with your loved ones to enjoy a well-deserved break, we encourage you to keep two things in mind.
First, remember those who don’t get the day off.
Care workers and first responders will be serving others today, perhaps the greatest embodiment of the holiday spirit.
If many Iowans’ wishes for a white Christmas come true, road crews will be busy clearing streets, and utility workers may be summoned to keep homes lit and warm. Someone will clean the hotel rooms of out-of-town guests, others make the broadcast of sporting events possible. The tradition of Christmas Day movies means someone will scoop popcorn into bags at local theaters. And, of course, livestock on area farms still need fresh water and food.
From retail workers to in-home care givers, let’s make a unified wish for all people to experience a small dose of joy — a moment of quiet reflection, a warm embrace, a thoughtful gift, a child’s laugh — and the contentment that flows from sincere appreciation.
Second, pledge to do your part to keep the spirit of the holidays alive throughout the coming year.
Give what you can, when you can. Resolve to see the silver lining, and extend the benefit of doubt. Keep in touch with family and friends, near or far, and tell them how much they are valued. Spend some time each day planning how you will make the children in your life smile.
Revel in the luxury of fuzzy socks on a cold winter morning, and remember not all are so fortunate. Trade a night of politics and headlines for dinner with co-workers or friends. Find opportunities to share the special moments and traditions of your life, and to listen as others do the same.
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Remember most people want the same things — health, happiness, stability, freedom, love, peace, balance, fulfillment — even as they travel different paths toward their goals.
The things and attitudes associated with this season are needed throughout the year. It’s how we can bridge the ever-widening gap between us; how we strengthen community.
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