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The True Meaning of the Holidays: Presence or Presents? The SeniorScape™


We’re making our list, and checking it twice, to make sure everyone is happy and thinks we’re nice.


But….. is that the true meaning of the holiday season?


Are we present for ourselves and, therefore, ultimately, can we be fully present for our families?


Are we forgetting the simplest pleasures of life that bring us together and form the memories that last a lifetime.


What is your favorite holiday memory?


Is it building gingerbread houses, baking cookies, playing with dreidels?


Last year I bought several Chanukah gifts for my grandchildren. But I forgot to give them 3 small wooden dreidels with the game instructions.


This year, I decided to limit the gifts to the 3 small dreidels with instructions for how to play the game that I had forgotten to give them last year.


They were thrilled. I sat with them at the table watching as they practiced spinning the dreidels over and over, watched how their bright eyes seemed to delight in comparing who could spin the dreidel the longest. But they were especially delighted that they had instructions so they actually knew how to play the game. The oldest, almost 9 was able to ready all the instructions. The twins of 6 ½ years read what they could and seemed proud of themselves as they sounded out the words that seemed more difficult.


As I sat around the table with my grandchildren, with laughter and smiles, I realized at that moment, that the holidays can be about, and maybe should be about simple pleasures. I thought had I given them the 3 small dreidels last year amongst all of the other gifts they would likely have gotten lost or seemed like nothing. Yet, when standing alone, it was this simplest pleasure that was a source of delight for us all.


We all get caught up in the commercialization of the holidays, the marketing hype, the expectations of what we’re going to give or receive.


Stretching ourselves, our budgets, running ourselves ragged, stressing ourselves out, financially, physically, mentally.


Do we forget that sometimes the simplest pleasures is what makes everlasting memories? When we recall these memories, the warmth, the laughter, the smiles and hugs, it’s almost like the warmth of those feelings fill us up just as they did when we experienced them.


Isn’t this the meaning of being present? Being so present in the moment that the feelings fill your soul and you can recall them in the same way as you did when you originally experienced them?


What’s left for us? Are we present for ourselves? How can we fully give to others when we ourselves are so depleted? At that point can you feel anything but pure exhaustion?


The truth is, you are at your best when you’re doing you. When you give to yourself you have enough reserve to be present for and give to others.


You're the CEO of your own well-being so indulge in a simple pleasure for yourself.

It can be as simple as taking five.

  • Five minutes of quiet time to simply close your eyes,

  • Enjoy a cup of your favorite warm drink,

  • Listen to your favorite song

  • Take an extra 5 minutes in the shower.

Five minutes to give to yourself.


It will Rejuvenate-You. You will have more to give to those you love and cherish.


Feel free to share ways you can rejuvenate yourself when you need it most.


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Follow Phyllis Ayman on the podcast: SeniorsSTRAIGHTTalk at: https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/3911/seniors-straight-talk













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