The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time, but we know it is the time of year people find themselves more depressed than ever. People are having financial and personal problems yet still trying to keep up with the Joneses. Many of us feel we can’t enjoy life without having “that one thing.” For some, that one thing is a job. For others it’s a perfect relationship, or real and genuine love. Still others are looking for our own business, artistry, or investment to take off. We may always have life expectations but the degree of dissatisfaction heightens at this time of year.
Holidays can offer much pain, financial burdens and personal strain
Those of us who recognize the origins of the holiday can deliver long-winded speeches on Jesus’ true birthday and season (if indeed there was such a person), offer background on Saturnalia and Nimrod, or mention the correlation between Black Friday and the year’s last chance for big businesses to bring their books into the Black. Yes, those of us who consider ourselves “progressive” can disrupt many a party with these erudite emissions, making the case of holidays being meaningless.
But, is it?
Spending many winters in South Florida, it was easy to ignore the Christmas hoopla. I didn’t buy into it. The weather pretty much stays the same all year, so your body doesn’t “feel” any different. There might be a surprise 60 degree day where I could whip out the coveted winter gear and supremely style on the unprepared Floridians with their uncle’s Bomber jackets and grandma’s knitted sweaters. Yes, this was a season that meant little more than that.
Now that I’m back in NYC for the first full winter since 2008, I am remembering the spirit of the season. Though it’s unusually warm for December, seeing the lights strung between poles, the Evergreens for sale, and Macy’s window display remind me that the holiday season is in full swing. This holiday season, I am in the tightest financial position I’ve been in years, probably since the winter of 2008. With depleted savings, I’ve been fortunate to have friends, old and new, offer assistance in various ways. The kindness of people you know in ways that matter means much more than silly trinkets.
Gifts from the wallet are lifeless. Gifts from the heart are priceless.
It has become popular to purchase gifts that the recipient wants, but what about what they need? If you are at a loss for gifts to offer that struggling friend, here are some ideas:
- Pay for their incorporation papers or business cards. Help them get their business off the ground for 2012.
- Pay their internet or cell phone bill for a month to make sure the grind never stops.
- Pay for your friend’s licensure exam. Show your support in their educational efforts.
- Buy a monthly unlimited MetroCard or $100 gas card for your friend. This is a gift that will help with travel to secure those deals and visit those potential clients.
- Review your unemployed friend’s resume. Help them pinpoint the reason they haven’t landed an interview yet.
- Keep a study session to help your friend during finals. This is a crazy time for students, and every bit counts.
- Check out your friend’s show, read their articles, listen to their demo, and offer a review and critique. Feedback is always appreciated.
- Refer their talents to those who would be interested, even if you’re not in their industry.
These are considerate, important, useful gifts that show more than just a “thought that counts.” These gifts indicate a true respect for a loved one’s dream, a cheer for their efforts to grow into the financially independent giant they desire to be, appreciation for their blood, sweat, and tears. Perhaps you feel it’s too late to invest in your own dream; I would say it’s never too late, but if you feel that way, you would receive great reward from supporting another in ways that matter.
I may not celebrate the “holidays” but I celebrate life, I celebrate dreams, I celebrate love and kindness. It doesn’t matter the time of year or the place. The spirit of giving unselfishly should be with everyone throughout the year. If you find that Christmas is the only time you care to buy a few gifts for people close to you, and only because they’re buying you something, re-evaluate your position with your loved ones. Think about what you can do without cost that shows your love and appreciation. The rewards last a lifetime, certainly much longer than the kitchen cutlery you bought on sale at Marshall’s.
About Monique A. Williams
Monique A. Williams is the author of Neurotica: An honest examination into urban sexual relations, The momowilly Experience: A portfolio of potent poetry, and Mo’losophy. The Brooklyn born, Ft. Lauderdale bred lady has returned and is ready to take NYC by storm. In her spare time, she is developing scripts for the silver screen and television and putting the finishing touches on her one-woman play. She likes to cook, eat, read, write and plan for world takeover.
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