The holidays are here! 

I don’t know about you but something I love about the Christmas season is the amount of hope and excitement that mingles in the air. I feel like a kid, giddy with delight at the thought of receiving a special surprise or feeling the warmth of love or joy. The thought of watching classic Christmas movies (who else loves “It’s a Wonderful Life”?), enjoying reading books in front of a warm fire, hanging up stockings and putting lights and decorations on a tree, all these memories bring a smile to my face as I think about celebrating these special moments of life with friends or family. I’m the type of person who loves creating Christmas cards and writing little notes inside of them for each person I send them to. And what about those delicious steaming cups of hot chocolate?! I pick out one of my favorite mugs, usually a mug one of my dear friends gives me, and use it for enjoying my first cup of hot cocoa for the season! (Speaking of mugs, check out my mug collection and see the cool "Aloe" mugs we have available!).

Christmas decorations and yummy hot chocolate!!
But sometimes, I find that the holidays can be a difficult time too. One filled with loss or pain, hardships or sadness. Maybe one has to work the entire time or maybe family can be difficult to spend time with? Or maybe Christmas Day is simply just another day for you, at least one where you don’t have to see anyone or do anything and just have some alone time for yourself? I know the excitement of Christmas starts to fade as one gets older or maybe, you start to spend more Christmases alone in your life? Perhaps you’re in another country by yourself where everything is closed and you find yourself all alone, without anyone there and wishing someone was there? Just wishing you could spend a few moments with someone who cared about you and you cared about them. 

A few years ago, my family and I had a fun Christmas experience, one that is still a fond joke to this day. We were in the countryside of France visiting my sister during her study abroad year in college. We happened to be staying in a lovely place in the Loire Valley, although we hadn’t realized that everything would be closed the day of Christmas. All restaurants, cafes, shops, grocery stores, markets, everything. When we woke up Christmas morning, little did we know we would spend the majority of the day searching for places where we could find food. I remember it being a cold and wet day, and we were all so hungry. Thankfully, our search wasn’t futile and we eventually found a tiny restaurant open in the middle of a dark town: a Chinese buffet!! We were the only customers there the entire evening, and maybe even all day. My brother devoured his food and we were all so incredibly hungry and just grateful we had finally found something to eat. What a memorable Christmas!

That restaurant saved the day. But, it didn’t really matter we hadn’t prepared our day that well or that we spent hours searching for a place to eat. It didn’t really matter that Christmas Day wasn’t what we were expecting it would be or what we had in mind for that year. Instead, what mattered, was that we had each other, we were there for each other and we were safe and together, loving and caring on each other.

One of the best gifts someone can receive is just having a small amount of joy in knowing that someone cares about them. Whether it’s a friend, a work colleague, someone you met on Aloe, or someone else you know, give the gift of inviting someone to join you on Christmas Day this year. Maybe it’s someone from another country who doesn’t have their family where they live and they can’t go home? What matters is offering someone care and love, even if it’s just for a few hours, inviting them to come enjoy life with you and cherish time being together. 

That’s one of the best gifts anyone can receive this holiday season: an invitation to join someone on Christmas or New Years Day. So, invite someone over and show them that you care for them. Sharing is caring and will help fill your holiday season with as much love, joy, peace, and care as possible! Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!