Christmas will be what you choose

Published 5:15 pm Saturday, December 2, 2017

By Toni Dowrey

I love Christmas! This is my favorite time of the year. I love the baking, music, festivities and family time. I love the idea of snowflakes possibly falling on Christmas Day. I love the giving, smiles and friendly people.

Not everyone feels the way I do. Some people look at Christmas as a money-maker. Some see it as a Christian holiday that they don’t want to partake in. Some are missing loved ones and just can’t find the holiday joy.

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If you have a humbug attitude or a heart filled with sadness, let this be the year those feelings go away. Christmas is what you make it. I don’t make it into a commercialized holiday. I make it into a time of celebration.

I have only been shopping a few times on Black Friday. I am very upset that stores are now opening on Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. It is about the money and sales, which takes away from the holidays.

To me, it is about people and giving. Not just gifts, but pieces of yourself. It is a time to not feel bad for yourself, but to lift up others. It is a time to bring love and light back in the world, if only for a month.

It is a time of wishes, dreams, and holiday magic. It is a time to bring family together, even when they have be torn apart. It is a time to share friendliness and positive energy.

I know some people have bad memories of holidays. I know people miss loved ones who are no longer here to celebrate. I know people find pain, hurt, and sadness at this time of year.

How you make the holidays is how they will be. They can be depressing and miserable, or happy and joyous.

I am 3,000 miles away from my parents, sister, three children and three grandchildren. I will not be there with them to celebrate the holidays this year. Again! I will be on FaceTime for a few minutes and shed tears after.

I won’t see my grandparents this holiday, as they have passed. I will be using their mixing bowls to make my meal, which allows me to feel them with me.

I told someone today that just because you miss someone who is no longer with you does not mean you cannot live your life and be happy. We all have a limited time on earth. You need to live yours while you are still are here with no guilt in doing so.

Being happy and living your life does not decrease your love or how much you miss your loved ones.

I will miss my family and still fill my heart with holiday cheer. I choose to be a bright light in a dark world. I choose to let the holidays fill me with good spirits and energy. I choose to be caring and giving (even if it is with just a friendly hello and smile!) to those I see.

Sometimes making others feel good can make you feel good. Giving just a smile can be more than any money can buy. Sometimes opening the heart of another can open yours.

It isn’t just about Christmas. It is about life. It is about being human all year and living a life without burden or pain.

We have one life. We can continue to use certain times, seasons or things to cause us to hurt, be sad or not care. We can also use these times to find healing, comfort and new life.

You are the creator of your emotions and actions. What will this holiday bring you?

Toni L. Dowrey is a motivational speaker and author from Suffolk. Visit her Facebook page at