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For the past several years, we’ve sent out our holiday cards for Thanksgiving, as a reminder to us and our family and friends of just how grateful we are for them. 

 One year, I discovered this quote and included it in our letter.  Even though it was written over a hundred years ago, its message transcends time. 

“I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day.  We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year.  As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year.  And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: “Why, this is Christmas Day!” How the discovery makes one bound out of his bed!  What a new sense of life and adventure it imparts!  Almost anything may happen on a day like this – one thinks.  I may meet friends I have not seen in years.  Who knows?  I may discover that this is a far better and kindlier world than I ever dreamed it could be.”                                                                                                              –          “A Day of Pleasant Bread,” David Grayson, 1910

We are headlong into the holiday season.  And some of us are quite frantic about all the tasks we have to do before it gets here.  I invite you to take a couple of minutes in a peaceful setting and ask yourself some questions.

How do I really want to experience the approaching holiday?

What do I have to do or not do to make that happen?

How would my life change if I took Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever I celebrate a little at a time all through the year? 

It does not matter what religious beliefs you have or don’t, we can all work on making this a kindlier world than we ever dreamed of. 

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George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (cnms.berkeley.edu).

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