Spiritual Sisters

Spiritual Healing Serene Salad

Spiritual Voices Creativity Bakery

Spiritual Inspiration TeaRoom

Inner Sanctuary Growth Brew

Spirituality In The WorkPlace

Spiritual Parenting PlayRoom

Angels Miracles & Noble Deeds

Spirituality Message Boards

The Magic of the Holidays�All Year Long

    As we enter the holiday season once again, its time to think about others and how we might want to make their holiday special. Most kids find such joy in the gifts, the parties and the baking, and maybe that should be enough. It would be wonderful though, if they could take the holiday spirit and truly carry it with them in their lives all year long.

    Of course that is the distinction. In order to carry this wonderful time of year with them through out the year, it needs to go beyond what is in their hearts and actually transform their lives and the lives of people they encounter. While we can not truly bring the joy of the holidays into our lives literally everyday, here are some strategies that may help kids keep just a spark of the holiday spirit in their lives all year long.

    Practice gratitude. Many of us say prayers and express gratitude for the blessings we have on a daily basis. Take it another step and find ways to express gratitude in your life everyday to others. A small note to a teacher, a neighbor or a friend creates a feeling of appreciation and helps your child tune into how good it feels to make others happy.

    Practice compassion. This is something we see so much during the holidays, as people make extra efforts to reach out to others. It can be done all year long. Work with your local agencies and churches to really help your kids connect to those less fortunate and be part of making someone else�s life easier and happier. Help your kids develop a keen eye for those in need and show them the tools for reaching out and making a difference in someone else�s life.

    Connect to spirit. Regardless of what your religious beliefs may be, there are hundreds of ways to connect to a sense of spirit. It might be through daily family time, walks in nature, prayer or reaching out to the community. Help your child realize during these activities they are part of something bigger and nourish their sense they need to connect to that source whenever possible.

    Create a sense of magic. One of the most exciting parts of the holidays for kids is the magic of the season. The lights, the stories, the baking, the events all help to add to the mystique of the holiday. Create a place in your home where you can light up a small tree all year long, entertain, or keep a special ornament out where it can be seen and cherished all year long. Once a month be a secret Santa and give a gift to a friend. It�s the joy of Christmas that can be maintained all year long with a little creativity.

    Practice Tolerance. The holidays are a time when we cut people slack. Things that normally would really upset us tend to roll off our shoulders more as we remember to be more tolerant this time of year of people�s behavior. Keep this in mind all year long and make sure your kids know you are trying to practice this holiday ideal year round.

    Keep in touch. Holidays are a great time to re-connect with old friends and people we just don�t seem to find the time for during the year. Make a serious attempt each month during the year to send a quick note, make a phone call or even send an email to people you traditionally only connect with during the holidays.

    The holidays are special in a way no other time of the year can be. Kids and adults will find the holidays more gratifying if they practice the ideals of the season throughout the year. It just takes a little effort, a dash of creativity and a dose of true concern for those around us to celebrate the message of this time of the year�all year long. Ultimately, the holidays are ideals and values to be incorporated into our lives and not just enjoyed for a few weeks and then boxed up again for next year.

    � Anne Leedom

    Anne Leedom is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of parentingbookmark.com. She has been quoted in national print including Parents, Redbook and Nick Jr. Magazines and has been a guest on National Public Radio Affiliate WHWC on the show "Mental Health Today with Dr. Minette Ponick." Anne writes a regular column in Northern California and can be reached at anne@parentingbookmark.com.