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Christmas was always my favorite holiday as a kid and still is to this day. There really is something magical in the air and from about December 1st to the day after Christmas, we all behave just a bit differently.

We are more patient in lines at the grocery store or in traffic. We toss in a few bucks to the guys with the bells and red kettles at the mall entrance. We put in extra effort to spend time and talk with family and we tend to be much more giving.

There is something about this time of year that just exudes the true meaning of family. Even the way we communicate with strangers is different.

A few years ago, a couple of friends and I made a trip to New York City for the annual ball drop on New Year’s Eve. We were staying on the east coast for 10 days and were also spending Christmas there.

We thought it would be a more “Christmassy” trip if we made a point of saying “Merry Christmas” to as many strangers as we could on the trip, starting with the plane ride. The goal was for each of us to say it to at least 100 strangers in the span of the 10 days.

We had a blast and the conversations I had with complete strangers were incredible. So much so that I began to wonder why I couldn’t continue to be so open and friendly with people year round.

During these last 25 days or so, I am again reminded of the need for us all to find a way to keep the Christmas spirit going all year long.

If we are able to treat complete strangers like family for 1 month, we can certainly learn to do so all year long 🙂 Here are 5 things we can do to keep the Christmas spirit going through the year.

 

1. Patience

We can start with patience. Everyone has somewhere to go and somewhere to be just like we do and although we may think otherwise, our agendas are NOT more important than others.

If we remember this in December, we can certainly do so in July 🙂

 

2. Giving

Science shows that the same part of our brain is activated when we give gifts as when we receive gifts. This is why it always feel so good to give and see the reaction on people’s faces when we are able to get them something they love or need. This part of the brain is active year round, not just around Christmas!

Pay for a stranger’s coffee once in a while, even in the summer 🙂

 

3. Communicating with strangers

Homeless people need socks and food year round, not just around the holidays, Cashiers could use a smile and a “thank you” every day, and the person sitting across from you on the train might need someone to talk to now more than ever.

You’re not a kid anymore, it’s ok to talk to strangers!

 

4. Getting together with family

Don’t wait till Christmas and Thanksgiving to speak and spend time with family. If you claim you don’t have time, one day you will wish to trade everything you ever had for even a few moments with them.

“Lack of time” is NEVER an excuse. Find time.

 

5. Worry less

Around the holidays we tend to worry less about our goals, careers, jobs, etc. The time spent with family and friends always puts those other things on the back burner for a bit because the only important things in life are right in front of us.

If we can learn to shift our focus on the real things that matter to us daily, we will spend less time worrying about the things that are less important.

I am always in need of this reminder and I hope this will help you too. Together, I believe we can make every day in this world feel like Christmas.

There is a better way to live!

 

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Don’t listen to speak, listen to understand

 

My name is Michael Ivanov, I speak and write in hopes of inspiring folks to seek and find the most out of this short life. Say Hi on Facebook and follow my page for future posts and events 🙂 Let’s grow together.

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