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Happy Holidays everyone! Yes, the most wonderful time of year is finally here, and I’m sure everyone is hustling and bustling from store to store by now to get those presents for all the people you love…and even the ones you don’t. Christmas lights have been strung, ornaments hung, and Christmas carols will be sung. I of all people have experienced the absolute joy that comes about during Christmas time, as it’s my favorite time of year.

The thing is, the happy holidays aren’t happening everywhere. As we max our credit cards here, in a place where materialism is considered almost equivalent to expressions of love, somewhere far away is a mother and child struggling to salvage enough for their next meal.

I know what you’re thinking: Whoa, this writer is one of those super cynical types who makes a downer out of all the fun. But no, I’m actually one of the happiest people I know, and am one of the most fanatical about Christmas Cheer. Only, as we open our wonderful gifts on Christmas morning and spend time with our family and friends, along with all the happiness that we feel in those wonderful moments, we must all also remember that the whole world does not share this epidemy of joy. We must remember to be humbled by the diverse states of human existence, and feel compassion for those who will not be waking up on December 25th to the sound of laughter. And therefore, I ask you all this Christmas season to appreciate the life you have now in the vast scheme of things; don’t be bummed because you didn’t get those really cute shoes you’d been dying for, or that super-sleek skateboard that you told absolutely everyone would make you happy for the rest of your life. Instead, put yourself in the shoes of someone who has none of those things, someone who may even be working long, hard hours to make those very things, and let that perspective make you feel even more joy this holiday than all preceding years as you appreciate what you do have rather than what you don’t.

This year, see the world and your own life from a bigger perspective. Commit a random act of kindness. And remember: presents aren’t the only things one can give to those they love.

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