Merry, Happy and Salutations of Joy are greetings we give each other this time of year.
We celebrate in many different ways because we are such a diverse society. We celebrate with the giving of gifts to our family, our friends, our neighbors and most importantly of all, we give to those we do not know.
The ringing of the bell outside grocery stores, the Toys for Tots program and the angel trees are part of our traditions this time of year. The most obvious and dominant tradition is that we as a people, give to others.
Why? Because of miracles that happened many centuries ago.
The Jewish people were given the miracle of the oil that lasted eight days instead of one. The miracle of the oil represents that we must believe, we must have hope, we must learn to trust and be generous to others.
Christians traditionally celebrate the miracle of the birth of a baby. Christians believe in the hope, love and generous spirit that baby brought.
Our society also has believers in generous traditions that are part of this season that are unrelated to any deep belief other than the importance of sharing and giving.
The generosity of the season, not matter what you believe, is truly a miracle in itself.
Gifts come in many ways. When thinking about what to give a loved one, a friend, strangers, go outside the box of materialism. This teaches your child that not all gifts are wrapped.
Everyone has a talent unique to them. Sharing whatever your talent is, such as singing, listening, cleaning, gardening, could make someone else’s life happy and beautiful.
The gift of donating blood saves lives every day. There are several blood banks in our county where you can donate.
Time is one of the most precious gifts we can give others. Time with your child, your own parents, neighbors living alone is a gift that will bring a smile and a happy heart to the receiver of your time. Spending time with someone lets them know how important they are in your life. Everyone needs to feel treasured.
The gift of a kind word can change a person’s life. Never underestimate the power of a sincere compliment, a hug, a tender touch, a pat on the back. Touching heals emotional wounds.
One of the most challenging gifts you can give is forgiveness. Forgive yourself and others in spite of memories of unlovable times. Drop the stories of who did what and know we are all human and make mistakes and say things we regret.
This is the season of reaching out to others, giving as generously as we can, coming together to celebrate families and friendship.
May your heart be joyful and your spirit merry. May you not only give but receive. May the gifts you receive include forgiveness, hope, peace of mind and spirit, recognition of love and a warm embrace of tenderness.
This is my gift to you.
Katie Powers, R.N., is a board-certified lactation consultant and perinatal educator at Manatee Memorial Hospital’s Family BirthPlace. Her column appears every other week in Healthy Living in the Bradenton Herald. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.