A remake of the traditional holiday list certainly applies to everyone, even those celebrating holidays in other cultures and religions. As a popular song states “We are one world, one instrument.” I’d like to believe we have the ability to improve not only our lives but others. Mushy? Believe it! Standing straight and looking at the light is much preferable to slumping over and disappearing in the darkness. On Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukah or other unknown holidays this writer is unaware of…open your hearts.

Be present.

A survivor of war will know the importance of presence, as will their spouse and family. Families separated by distance cannot shake the sensation of emptiness nor the memory of separations during the holidays. Seniors in new surroundings of Assisted Living or Memory Care rally when family and friends share time by any means. A phone call, hand written note or a resurrected photograph evoking memories fill empty hearts.

Wrap someone in a hug.

Ever hugged someone just for the sheer joy of the action? Hugs are free. Hugs are spontaneous. Hugs are irresistible. Hugs are human. Go for it. Reach out and touch a soul. Hug! You will never be forgotten. On an amusing note people may run from you next year but you will never be forgotten.

Send peace.

Banish the resentments. Listen instead of criticizing. See the other side of a discussion. Acceptance does not necessarily mean agreement, but does calm down disputes. Shake hands. Picture positive energy traveling from one extended hand to another, a charge illuminating the space. Brighter than a string of Christmas lights is the electricity of peace. Pass it on.

Donate food.

Give to the hungry…one item to a food drive, one cookie to a child and one pay-it-forward at the coffee shop. Simply visit a loved one in a Long Term Care community and share a cup of coffee. Warm feelings aren’t only from the steam of a hot drink. Take an Assisted Living resident to the local pie shop. Life stories have consistently evolved from kitchen tables. Share family tales with a piece of Christmas fudge, nuts or divinity.

Make memories.

The person sitting in a wheelchair in a corner staring blankly is someone. Greet them. Smile. Sing along with the music and the feeble voices. Take time to spend time. Ring bells, sing carols, light a candle. Simply make memories.

Be the Light.

Don’t wait for once a year. Always BE THE LIGHT.