Heard the Christmas Carol ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ the other day and I wondered: What, exactly, makes this the most wonderful time of the year?

Of course, that answer is different for every person on the planet. Definitions range from honoring religious beliefs to family celebrations to receiving a visit from Ol’ Kris Kringle himself. I could go on and on, but none of those definitions really matter. The only one that matters is your definition. Do you know what it is for you?

For me, the holiday spirit of giving is what I cherish. I allow the idea that there is magic surrounding us wherever we go when we give of ourselves during the holiday season to permeate every fiber of my being. But, this year, I was overcome with emotion with the thought that, for some, the ‘holiday season’ is the exact opposite of the most wonderful time of the year.

Memories of lost loved ones or tragic events overshadow the holly, jolliness that flows in the air. Financial struggles push parents to the brink as the try to figure out whether they should pay the rent or provide presents for their children. Expectations for perfection weigh so heavily on people – whether it’s those perfect holiday cards, the perfect gift, or to create the perfect holiday dinner creates so much angst and stress for so many. How can it be the most wonderful time of the year while all this is happening? What could I possibly give to them?

Of course, every situation is different, but I keep thinking, feeling and believing in – ‘Just Give’. So, I’m asking you – give of yourself this holiday season. Give your time to listen. Give your heart to love. Give a smile to laugh. Give your prayers to live. Give financially, if you are able, to a cause that moves you.

What makes this the most wonderful time of the year for you? Whatever it may be, please share it as much as possible with acts of kindness, generosity, love and peace.