“Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.”
Dave Barry

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A key DOTS prevailing theme: Noticing what’s going on around us, then connecting reality with positive action. There is no denying that these are challenging economic times. That said, with the approaching holidays, it’s time to dig deeply into our spiritual tool-box as we focus on joy, love, and that which truly matters.

The weakened global economy cannot be denied. This holiday season offers us an opportunity to satisfy a deep yearning that many of us have: A simple, less commercial, more soul-satisfying celebration—–especially when it comes to Christmas.

Why is there so much cultural pressure to BUY, BUY, BUY? Remember, you have a choice. You ALWAYS have a spiritual choice. You don’t have to link-into the “shirt-in-a-box (wrapped-in-environmentally unfriendly-wrapping-paper)” Christmas.

Through the ages, and until relatively recently, holiday gift-giving was a MINOR aspect of celebrating. The modern-day (a gazillion-gifts under the tree) approach to Christmas is a corporate-advertising creation, one that we can consciously choose to unplug from.

With a little bit of creative thought, and a realistic commitment to our budget, we can change our approach to gift-giving in ways that make this time of year more meaningful, more enjoyable, and less stressful.

We can support our friends and family by focusing on their needs—expressing our love for them with the thought that we put into our gift. Here are some practical examples:

How about a couple of breakfasts/brunches at your loved ones’ local, favorite coffee shop as a heartfelt, holiday gift?

Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car washed or detailed? Picking up the vehicle and then returning it shiny and clean (with a big, red bow on it?) would be a nice touch. (Via a local car wash, or your own nitty-gritty, energetic style with the garden hose.)

Someone you love would adore a hand-written promise that you will mow their lawn during the coming summer and/or that you commit to plowing their driveway all winter.

A child or pre-teen considers your time more valuable than a pot-of-gold. Hand-made Christmas certificates promising afternoons at the putt-putt golf course, movie theatre, ice cream parlor, etc. make perfect presents or stocking stuffers.

Everybody needs to have their hair cut now and again. How about a gift certificate
from a local hair salon—or an afternoon where you do this together, followed by tea-time at Starbucks?

How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle? (Taking the auto to a local shop and having it serviced before returning it to their garage will make you a hero/heroine this holiday season.)

Who wouldn’t LOVE the services of a home-cleaning-outlet for an afternoon? (Or, you could perform the cleaning yourself—-this is the kind of gift, a labor of LOVE, that is NEVER forgotten.)

If you are a computer expert, you might come up with inexpensive ways to upgrade a loved one’s computer—including taking the time to explain the changes and how it will improve their computer experience.

Oldies but goodies: Handcrafted gifts—knitted scarves, jewelry, ornaments, baked treats.

How about taking somebody you care about (especially a house-bound person or somebody experiencing the holiday “blues”) on an outing to see a play or ballet
at a hometown theatre—Or, a free concert at a local church or school.

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Many of the above suggestions would also support your local economy—an important aspect of positive spiritual action and intent as we respond to the significant economic “glitch” we now find ourselves in.

In addition, that old saying that “the best things in life are free” is true. (Children know this as an innate, experiential truth.)

As you find creative ways to simplify Christmas—as you search for ways to re-claim the joy that your “inner child” longs for, consider the ancient traditions: singing carols as a family (either at home or caroling the neighborhood), baking/decorating cookies or molding popcorn balls together, a tree-trimming party, gathering for a reading of a holiday story in front of a cozy fire . . . Something FUN that our family has done in the past: A “gaudy” Christmas sweater contest (these items can be donated to charity later :^)

Dance of the Spirit encourages loving expression and the holidays offer us a unique opportunity to show how much we care about one another.
Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

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“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. “
Norman Vincent Peale

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As the founder of DanceoftheSpirit.com, Executive Editor SANDRA CLINE holds a basic belief about the wonder of life: that there is no sensation more magical or mystical than the surprise of loving and being loved. Sandra has been married to her husband, Ron, for over three decades. She is mother to daughter Michelle and son Chris. She has the honor of being “Omi” (Celtic for grandmother) to twin grandsons Korbin & Logan and grand-daughter Nia Grace. Sandra is an avid supporter of pro-literacy organizations and an ardent environmentalist.

In the working world, Sandra transitioned from a successful career in radio broadcasting to that of freelance writer; she is also the author of Pug Sheridan, a critically-acclaimed novel. When Sandra decided to write Pug Sheridan, a story about the indestructible soul of female friendship, she found that her formative years (while growing up in Alabama) had forged an undeniable truth, one that she found lodged within her heart …. that EVERYONE, without exception, is tied to the land and to each other, across the world and beyond.

After publication, Pug Sheridan quickly became a cross-over genre, appealing to teens AND an adult, mainstream audience. Print reviews for Sandra’s book have been more than kind, e.g. “The book’s believability kept me reading late into the night. The human element rings true, as does the mystical”  . . . “Sandra Cline’s tale of a rural Alabama trapped between two centuries in the days leading up to World War I is romantic, spiritual and soothing. But it burns with something deeper – – a social conscience that crosses generations.” If you are interested in reading Sandra’s novel, QUICK CLICK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0975455443/ref=pd_rvi_gw_1/102-7318584-5641757?ie=UTF8