When December arrives, it means three things: the Christmas holiday is coming soon, it will be followed by a new year, and then, if we’re not careful, we’ll begin again doing more of what we did in 2021. How the next few days play out is strictly personal—if you loved everything this year, doing more of it next year works. If you’d like to make changes, that, too, is up to you, however, please allow me to offer a few suggestions as we move forward.
This holiday season instead of buying stuff that your family and friends don’t need, won’t like, and probably won’t appreciate, think thoughtfully about how you could be a blessing. Families everywhere are struggling with higher fuel and food costs, so check with local social service agencies and ask how you can help.
Rounding up your utility bills is one of my favorite things to do and when everybody does it, these pennies and dimes add up. There is probably a place on your bill where you can add $5 or more to help the elderly or others who may be having a tough time staying warm.
Volunteer to help the Salvation Army or other groups who have a tough time finding people to help with the Angel Tree, bell ringing, and other ministries that care for our brothers and sisters. Give pharmacy and grocery gift cards to senior citizens who struggle with higher prescription costs.
Before my great-aunt passed away, she loved to snack while she did her quilting, so I encouraged her friends to replenish her popcorn, peanut brittle, cheese, mixed nuts—things she loved—instead of giving that 15th bath and shower set. She loved bragging about the things her friends brought her. Our children give us new family pictures and movie passes because they know we love movies on date night, and we can never have too many cute grand and great grandchildren pictures.
All I’m saying is this year be more thoughtful about spending, give yourself permission to rest, enjoy your family, and cherish the reason for the season.
Secondly, as we look to 2022, it looks like COVID will still be around and the conversations about masks or no masks, vaccines or no vaccines will continue to divide us. Your personal rights and my personal rights are the same rights, and they must be respected but must we fight and low-rate (a word from my childhood that I always loved…) each other because of our beliefs?
I got vaccinations and a booster for me and my family, so I expect you to do what’s best for you and your family. Since scientists and researchers have said until every person is vaccinated and safe, no one is, it looks like a no-brainer as to who does and doesn’t get vaccinated. Nevertheless, the variants keep spreading so we all need to do more to protect our families and communities. Like the scriptures remind us, think on these things.
Finally, every year brings new challenges. Whether it’s retirement, a new job, new additions to the family—how we move forward matters. My father always encouraged us to choose to get in trouble, not do it because we weren’t paying attention and following others. That’s still good advice and this December I’m encouraging you to live forward and not just follow the crowd.
Now is the time to live your dreams, try new things, explore the world. Trust me, life is short, and it speeds up with every passing year. Grab hold of this December and make it count.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.