For many of us, Christmas is a time of holiday cheer. It’s a time for us to gather with family and friends and reminisce about the year that is almost gone. It is very much a religious time for many people and it’s the time of the year where we may see more smiles from others, receive more gifts that may be unexpected, and spend more time with our loved ones. That is not the case for everyone.

While we may see more smiles, we may also see more frantic looks. That may come from the fact that some are spending money that the don’t have on multiple people and are living outside their means. Those crazed looks come from people who are too busy buying food and feeling like they’re driving themselves crazy to prepare for large gatherings of loved ones. It may come from the fact that people are cleaning, scrubbing, and taking care of their homes in ways that they haven’t since the last Christmas. They are feeling distressed because the special day is coming up and they still have plenty to do.

Regardless of if you are religious or not, I like to think of this as a time when we can be quiet with ourselves and reflect on what we’ve experienced throughout the year. That said, that can happen throughout the year, but as the end of our Gregorian calendar year and there being holiday cheer, this may be a great time to set our intentions for what we want and how we want to be for ourselves and others for the years to come. It is nice to give expensive gifts, but if you’re breaking your back to do so, it doesn’t feel so great. What I would like to see is people sitting with each other, breaking bread, and appreciating the energy of those around them. Having intimate talks, sharing their personal lives, being our true selves, and enjoying those around us without our phones — those things are meaningful — much more than expensive gifts that have caused stress. Whatever this time of the year means to you, consider making actions that are wholehearted and loving!