Real Gift Of The Season
Holiday Season Time To Reflect
November 18, 2010
Real Gift Of The Season
Resolve To Be A Better American
January 7, 2011

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By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO –

The real gift of the season is a rejuvenation of our will, our soul. Raise a glass to family, friendship and love this holiday season. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts of the holiday season is the opportunity to reflect, become rejuvenated, and reenergized about the true meaning of life, family, and friends.

For a moment, we can put politics aside. We can escape the piles on our desks, the backlog on the assembly line. For a moment, maybe our troubles will be out of mind and out of site long enough to allow us time to revisit what we should be about at whatever stage of life we find ourselves.

We can begin with the obvious. Irrespective of our ethnic group, religious affiliation, or location on the planet, this is the season where we pause to celebrate a major event of spiritual significance in our collective lives. We pay respect, homage and honor to someone greater than us, one who gave, and sacrificed much more than we ever would dream of, and whose life and legend we still seek to understand and embrace.


Irrespective of your religious beliefs, come together and share a time of rejuvenation.

Irrespective of our religious beliefs, we search to understand and practice the ageless precepts and principles in which we fervently believe. We return repeatedly to those teachings for better understanding. We urge our family and friends to get to know the one greater than us, and we encourage them to learn more about his teachings on how to live a meaningful life — for oneself and toward one’s fellowman.

But let’s not stop there. Amid all of the festivities, my wish is that each of us makes sure that we stop and find a serene and special place, take the time, to revisit and reflect on the meaning of this temporal life and our individual purpose in it.

Let this be our special gift to ourselves; let us become renewed in our purpose and resolve.

That irrespective of our plight in life — and each one of us carry our own set of burdens — we find the resolve to recommit ourselves to putting into practice the great gifts, and guidelines for life that were passed to us by those who have gone before, and whom we celebrate.

The presents we exchange, the meals and festivities we share are mere symbols of what we should be about every day. Albeit, and not necessarily on such a grand frenetic and frantic scale.

However, every day, we should be giving — giving of our time and resources to others to make a difference in their lives, starting with family and spreading abroad. We should, on a daily basis, break bread and celebrate some aspect of life with someone.


Today and each day of the year, please take a moment to remember all our soldiers, and be grateful for them protecting our homes, hearts and families this year.

These are the real and lasting gifts of the season. If we practice, all year through, just some of the goodwill of the season, just some of the generosity of spirit, just some of the lavishness of gift giving, perhaps we could see some powerful things happening around us. Maybe we could have the meaning and impact of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or whatever your commemorative event, every day.

Perhaps, we could put a smile on a child’s face, a new purpose in a teenager’s life, a ray of hope for someone who is down and out, and does not see his or her way. Perhaps we could put a big dent in hunger and homelessness, drug and substance abuse, gun violence, suicide and school violence, broken families and broken homes.

Maybe, amid all of the gaiety and the glitter of the season, if we continue to celebrate the true meaning of the season long after the lights are turned off, long after the decorations have been  dismantled, long after the ornaments and rituals have been put away — then maybe all the fuss and expense will have been worth it.

What are you really celebrating this season, and, why?

How can you make the celebration even more meaningful in your everyday life? And will what you remember and take away from this season’s celebration make you look forward to next season with even greater anticipation?

Amid all the hustle and bustle of the season, we will do well to find a quiet place and ponder its true meaning.

Happy Rejuvenation! The real gift of the season.

Edited and Reprinted with Permission of

Real Gift Of The Season

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Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis
Janice S. Ellis, PhD, is an award-winning author. Her book, From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book sellers. She has written a column for newspapers, radio, and now online, where she analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. You can see her writings on this website.

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