http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/363166

Op-Ed: 'Tis the season to be kind. Thoughts on true meaning of Christmas

Posted Dec 1, 2013 by Alexandra Christopoulos
It happened: That moment where the timing of today's date (Dec. 1) caught me completely off guard. It's December and like so many who can relate, I'm already feeling the time crunch, with Christmas only a few weeks away.
A man holds a Christmas tree on the subway in New York  November 29  2013
A man holds a Christmas tree on the subway in New York, November 29, 2013
With permission by Reuters / Eric Thayer
While my days and Pinterest boards could not be busier, I think it is sufficient to say I am going in this year with a plan. Albeit a more simpler one.
In ways, all of the preparation and pressures (for those celebrating) to throw together the perfect holiday can interrupt, or even distort, in my view, what I believe to be the true meaning of the spirit of the season. (Nope, this is not a religious insert). But rather, there is a point to be made that speaks to my own personal brand of altruism. Far be it from me to refrain from the desire to host a great soiree, shop for gifts, or wanting to bake the most delicious cookies (again, if we're anything alike).
But, I certainly hope for a sense of connection and kindness that is not lost amongst us. Now, I understand what some of you might mean by asking, "Hey Alex, why wait around for the holidays to be a better person? Like New Year's, can't we always strive for self improvement during any time of year?" Of course. Since we are, however, in the midst of the season, I am making it my personal mission to be just as engaged in my community and do my best to give back.
No doubt, I will be as fervent as anyone else who's in a rush to decorate the tree, write out my Christmas cards (yes, paper cards!) and get those recipes I've been saving just right for my feast. Nevertheless, I'm so happy and thankful to have such wonderful people in my life who really motivate me to keep up with these traditions and more. All being said, I'm equally looking forward to putting myself out there for others who are in need around this time of year. And I'm fortunate to be blessed to live in a city where there are still people who do not hesitate to help and get involved.
So, that's it. My calendars are marked and I can't wait to get out there and spend time participating in some meaningful acts. I will be sure to share my adventures with Digital Journal as the days near, but would love to hear updates from our followers, readers and fellow contributors. What are you doing in the spirit of giving and goodwill towards all? It is, after all, the season to be kind.