Some might scowl when I say how much I love winter…but, I do!
I love the chill of frost, the sparkle of freshly fallen snow, the crunch of boots on snow-packed paths, twinkling lights against a dark night sky, sitting with a cup of cocoa near a crackling fire.

I even love the hustle and bustle of the winter holidays…the music, the treats, the joy of sharing, and the magic that shines out during this season of giving.

OK, admittedly I don’t love the over-commercialization as stores begin marketing Christmas in October, when pumpkins are still sitting on many porches.

I don’t love the stress that emanates from stores as people frantically move through the crowds to find the new-better-best gifts for loved ones. I don’t love the holiday traditions that are kept even after they’ve lost meaning.

During my #journey2simple, I even decided for a couple of years to STOP some of my cherished holiday traditions because I thought they were somehow contrary to my choice to begin living a more simple, less cluttered life.

I read something last week that helped reinforce the change of heart I’ve been feeling this year.

I had already decided to cherish the winter holidays again, even as I focus on letting go of the excess. This quote reminded me that a SIMPLE shift of perception is all it takes.

“Yes, the holidays can seem too commercialized! But…it’s my choice to get caught up in the judgment of the holidays or to shift my perception to the wonder of the season. I am never going to stop the commercialization through my irritation or judgment. I can, however, transform my experience by holding onto the message of the season: peace, kindness, love, hope, and good will to all people.”
– Beverly Hutchinson McNeff/What Would Jesus Do?
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We choose where to focus our attention, and our choice is what determines our experience of any season. I recently wrote about this in Choose Amazement. What we focus on gives meaning to our life. We can choose to be amazed and humbled by what we see, or not.

This message is so important to remember, especially during a time of year that is so busy and over-flowing with opportunity to lose our focus (& our sanity)!

So I’ve come up with a simple SHINE reminder to bring comfort & joy to you this holiday season. Use these daily to see where you can shine a bit more light into the world as you celebrate the simple gifts of winter.

Slow down…and savor what you love. What can you let go of that you don’t love, and how might this create even more space to attend to what you do?

Hear with your heart. Listen closely for the deeper meaning of the season. Are you missing any messages of joy as you rush about trying to finish your list?

Infuse yourself with light & reflect what is good and holy for others. Be a beacon of love and goodwill, as you set an example for everyone you meet.

Nourish yourself with rest & good choices. Have you sipped a warm cup of tea today?

Embrace the mystery. Are you looking through eyes of wonder or fatigue?

Whatever holiday you celebrate, remember the magic comes through opening our minds and hearts with child-like wonder. Keep shining, and remember that YOU put the SHINE into every season.

A few more Winter Shine posts from years gone by:
How to Find Your Holiday Twinkle
Simple Gifts

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