Holidays happen, but we have the power and responsibility to choose how we celebrate them and what they mean to each of us. It isn't easy keeping holiday hoop-la, décor, parties, gift giving, cards and all the holiday hustle in perspective. The more-more-more bombardment in every store, from TV and radio ads, not to mention computer and uninvited cell-phone pop-up ads can be hard to ignore. Halloween decorations are barely down, and marketers have us ramping up for the Thanksgiving–Christmas–New Year's holiday season.
This year, add some "cheer" without necessarily adding expense.
• Host a pot-luck Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner rather than killing yourself to deep fry a turkey and make everyone's favorite dishes. People like to help. Let them.
• Hide an affordable present and host a scavenger hunt.
• Make and wear silly paper hats that tell something significant about you or the last year or your favorite Christmas. Make it a game for others to guess.
• Make a Christmas fort with the kids out of discarded freezer boxes. They're free, and the time spent making them and playing in them will be remembered and better received than the Magic Kingdom itself.
• Play—board games, card games, drawing games, any kind of game that helps you connect to your kids or family or friends. Who doesn't like playing?
• Tell someone you love them. Maya Angelou famously said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
• Make a gift. One November, I honored my grandparents' 54th wedding anniversary with a tiny leather-bound journal filled with 54 stories, one for each year of marriage, recounting their lives together. It only took two days, a blank journal, a pen and scores of anecdotes collected from the family. It made my grandmother cry.
If you like these ideas and want more cost-effective, meaningful holiday gifts, decorations, tips and entertainment ideas, plan to attend the "Holiday Cheer" forum, hosted by Hinds Behavioral Health Services (3450 Highway 80 W.), Thursday, Nov. 18, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more info, call Marva Clark at 601-321-2400.