How Winter Holidays Can Help Us Make Heartfelt Changes


How Winter Holidays Can Help Us Make Heartfelt Changes

When the Dreidels are put away, the Christmas trees taken down and the Mkekas are set aside, there is little to celebrate until spring. Or is there? Despite the nationally recognized holidays that do occur during the first few months of the calendar year, there’s often little nod to the heart behind them.

It’s time for that to change.

Take Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Do we celebrate it for the right reasons and in the right way? Do we really stretch deep within ourselves to acknowledge how much our hearts blossom at the great achievements Dr. King gave his life for? I would surmise many do, but yet there are those that perhaps treat that day just like any other day of the year. What a shame.

It’s time for that to change.

Then roles in February and so does Groundhog’s Day, African American History Month and President’s Day. Well, we can say that our founding fathers did make an impact (hello, we have our freedom and inalienable rights, after all). But will our hearts swoon every time Punxsutawney Phil fails to see his shadow? Probably not. It’s time for that to change.

Speaking of hearts of winter, let us not overlook African American History Month which is celebrated in February. If you want to be really moved, take time this February to read the inspiring stories of Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Shirly Chisholm, our African American soldiers, Blanche Bruce and even more contemporary icons of change like Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou. Your heart will be moved by the achievements of the often overlooked changemakers that have put their stamp on American History. Are you helping to bring this celebration to light?

It’s time for a change.

And let’s examine another holiday that really should focus on the heart—Valentine’s Day. The day of romance and love. This celebration of St. Valentine and his quest to spread love is somewhat subjective. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover that many of the martyrs who died on this day were not “romantics” as the holiday may depict.

So, there you have it. A long stretch of winter with little heart-felt celebration. So, I propose a change.

If you reconsider, throughout January and February, there are incredibly moving contemporary and historical movements that should spark heartfelt emotions, cumulating with a day off for love.

Here’s how you can add some lovelight into these two dark winter months.

Start by learning all that you can about Dr. King, and I promise you, you’ll be moved to joy and tears. Share his message of history and hope with others. Next, consider the more contemporary holiday, American Heart Awareness month. February is the time to honor your ticker and all that it does for you as well as ask yourself: Are you taking good care of it? If not, what needs to change? And considering that January is National Blood Doner month, perhaps your heart will be moved to do the right thing and save a life. What can you do to support this effort? And now let’s look at what Valentine’s Day should be about. A chance to tell those who matter to you, how much you love them. Romance or not, it’s about spreading a little love.

Finally, I propose breaking the long stretch of winter with a day off for love.

Despite its interesting history and all the commercialistic trappings associated with St. Valentine’s Day, it really is the perfect post-holiday, holiday. Valentine’s Day falls at just the right time for a well-deserved break and moreover, it’s one that focuses on family, friendship and love.

We have so many reasons to take a day off for love during a time when much of the world is shrouded in winter.

First, we’re all desperate for a little light during the long cool months and hearing a “Happy Valentine’s Day” or opening a festive card can be a bright spot in our otherwise dreary day. Second, we need to make it less about the stuff and more about the “us.” Taking a restful day off to give a little self-love or to be with friends and family without all the pressure of preparing a big meal or exchanging presents can be just what the doctor ordered.

Finally, and most importantly, we need a day to remind us that love belongs to everyone. It’s not just something exchanged only between two people but something free to give to us all—ahem, thank you Dr. King. If we can spread a little love light when people need it most, we are well on our way to earning a day off for love.

It’s time for a change.

Dear Books Uplift Readers, what ideas do you have?

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