It’s that time of year again. Chicago weather in the single digits. Snow covering the sidewalks and streets. Holiday music blaring in virtually every store I step into. Television ads coming at me from every which way, telling me that if I buy this product for my significant other, it’ll be the answer to all of our problems.
Yes, ’tis the seaon to buy, buy, buy.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gradually stopped making a big a deal out of Christmas, mostly because no one else in my family shared the same zeal I had for it. I would buy all these gifts for my family and friends, thinking that that was what I was supposed to do during this time of the year to show them I cared.
But as time has gone on, I’ve grown weary of consistently being sucked into this consumer culture and spending all this money that I, to be honest, really didn’t have. This shouldn’t be what the holidays are about. The holidays shouldn’t be about consumerism but about realizing and being thankful for all the positive things in my life.
So as part of what I’m sure will be many top __ lists to come within the next few weeks, here are the top five things I’m grateful for this holiday season:
1) You. Yes, you! I’m grateful for you taking the time out of your day to come and read my blog posts every week. Whenever someone leaves a comment or tells me they’ve read my blog, I can’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Frankly, to know that I’ve shared my perspective, another way to see the world, is really exciting. Because at the end of the day, all I want to do is to start a dialogue. You don’t have to agree with what I say, as long as it gets you thinking.
2) NAKASEC. I’m grateful to NAKASEC for even giving me this opportunity. I’ve been meaning to be much more intentional in my blogging and to actually start a blog around social justice issues but it never materialized. So when NAKASEC called me up with this opportunity, I was both flattered and appreciative that I’d been given a chance to hone my blogging skills and to put my work out there to a wider audience. This New Organizing Project (NOP) has forced me to become much more serious about my blogging and reconsider my previous ways of thinking. I’ve also gotten to know an amazing team of fellow bloggers and staffers who all inspire me and push me to be a better writer.
3) Tangibles. Having a job, a roof over my head, food on the table every day, some semblance of disposable income. A lot of things that we may typically take for granted, I am definitely most appreciative of those things especially in this current economic climate.
4) My sister. I have an older sister who is more like a second mom to me. She’s always been the more logical, reasonable and level-headed one and, I’ll be honest, sometimes it drives me insane. But at the end of the day, she brings me back down to earth sometimes and opens my eyes up to the bigger picture. She sacrifices a lot for me and I can’t imagine my life without her.
5) Community. There are many times when I get really disheartened and would rather crawl under my blankets and forget about everything that is happening in the world. Case in point, the DREAM Act failing to pass in the Senate this past weekend. Moments like this make me lose a little hope in the possibility of a world that is just. But then I take a step back, take a few breaths and look at the amazing community of activists I know. They continue to fight for justice when it’d be easy to take on a defeatist attitude and become complacent with the world as it is. I look at them and they fill me with what could perhaps be called optimism. Because when it comes down to it, if we don’t do something about all the injustice that exists in this world, who will?
So amidst all the ‘buy this’ and ‘buy that’ of the holiday season, definitely take a few minutes to reflect and think about what you might be grateful for these days. I know for me, it’s been easy to get wrapped up in the consumer culture of the season but taking a step back and reframing the holidays as a time to be with friends and family and appreciating the good things in my life has humbled me and made me that much more thankful. So, readers, what are you thankful for this holiday season?
*Photo Courtesy of etsy.com.*