Sharing The Christmas Spirit

There is so much talk about the commercialization of the Holidays that we sometimes forget to look for the small things that give this season its meaning. It’s not about how many presents we get or give, or how expensive they are. It really is about the spirit of giving and how we channel that spirit in our lives.  That’s why experiencing small acts of kindness and generosity means so much to me.  Added up they are significant and define who we are, and how we can make a difference in other people’s lives.

So in this week’s Fox News Latino article I share a small exchange that reminded me of what the Holiday Season is all about, And I offer some tips on how-to keep it happy and safe for your family.

Sharing the Holidays with Christmas Lights

By    Published December 09, 2012   Casa Latina

We all like to think that the Holiday Season brings out the best in us. What a lie. I find that a lot of people are grouchier during the holidays than at any other time of the year.

As for me, Christmas has become so commercialized that I find it harder and harder to get into the Holiday Spirit. But something happened the day after Thanksgiving this year that opened my mind and heart to what Christmas is all about.

As I sat on my friend Anna’s porch sipping wine I was witness to the most wonderful thing, brotherly love. Eric, Anna’s husband, and their neighbor Steve were decorating their homes for the Holidays. But they were not just decorating at the same time; they were decorating to complement each other houses. The camaraderie was unspoken, the joy obvious and the laugher contagious.

Watching them work side by side, assisting each other as if they were reading each other’s mind filled me with happy tears. Every Holiday season I hear of fights breaking out between neighbors because one does not like the other’s style and feels it attracts too much attention. Or I hear stories of the neighbors who try to outdo each other every year. These types of rivalries just suck the joy out of the holidays, especially if you happen to live next door to one.

As a very busy mother of two young children I sometimes struggle to keep the meaning of Christmas foremost in my mind. That’s why this simple decorating celebration touched me so much. It’s really nice to know that there are people who do care about their neighbors and the negative stories we sometimes hear are, hopefully, the exception.

One thing I love about the Christmas holiday is that it gives us the excuse to get creative. As an interior designer, I have to admit that I love to decorate my own apartment so that my visitors are impressed form the moment they walk in the door. While this is great fun, don’t forget that playing with electricity is no joke.

The leading cause of fire during the holidays is improper use of cords, plugs and candles.  So this year, and for the years to come, please make sure that your Christmas décor is not only beautiful but safe for the whole family.

Safety points to remember:

• Any string of lights with worn, frayed or broken cords should not be used

• Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use

• Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks

• Never used lit candles on or around Christmas Tree

• When buying an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “Fire Resistant.” while this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning

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