Remember when

being a firefighter meant the only thing you had to worry about was fighting the blaze and not fighting the blaze and being shot at? http://bit.ly/ReSmQ3

 marketing people weren’t throwing things in your face like receiving a bad gift while coveting and then actually getting the better item on your list? All of the Hyundai commercials for the Holidays have people receiving awful gifts. Instead of appreciating the gift, they immediately go out and get what they want? Sure, I usually get myself the cool Christmas gift, but I was brought up to always appreciate the little things in life — even if it were an ugly Christmas sweater for two reasons: 1. The person actually thought of you; 2. That may be the threshold of what they’re able to afford while thinking of you.

 it was perfectly OK to say Merry Christmas  to everyone in your elementary school class and not have to worry about being reported because it wasn’t the “politically correct thing to do?” I am well aware that not everyone celebrates Christmas, however the blanket of “Happy Holidays” is kind of annoying. I was put in my place yesterday by an older woman as I walking out of Culpepper’s Bakery with full hands (breakfast to go and a black and white torte for  Christmas dessert). I thanked the older woman for opening both doors for me and then said, “Happy Holidays.” She just gave me a look and said, “Merry Christmas to you, too.” It was an awesomely awkward exchange, and I didn’t mind one bit.

 tradition mattered? Well, most of the time, new traditions are bred, but I am a sucker for long-standing traditions. For instance, my family used to gather Christmas eve (Noche Buena, for my Latino peeps),  eat dinner, watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and then open gifts.  For the second straight year, that will not happen for me. Sure, it’s great spending time with my Godson on Christmas day and watch him go bonkers over all of his stuff. But to me, nothing beats spending time with family, eating a damned delicious pork shoulder, and watching the faces of your nieces and nephews light up with the unveiling of what Santa had brought them.

 it was OK to not spend an exorbitant amount of money on family and loved ones for birthdays anniversaries or Christmas? I understand that, in some cases, people want to make their loved ones/children feel better than they did during Christmas time, but you don’t have to spend as much as your mortgage or rent payment. K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid).  The past two years, my favorite birthday gifts has been a hat — two years ago it was a Vanderbilt baseball hat, this year it was a San Francisco 49ers Cancer Awareness hat.

 you were excited about what you were doing? Maybe it’s time more people went back to that way of thinking, instead of putting themselves through life’s ringer by working at a miserable job and hating every moment of it. Do what you love, love what you do. I don’t know who said that, to be honest with you, but it’s a fitting mantra. Life is hard enough, don’t make it even harder on yourself by just being complacent. You should be happy with every aspect of your life — relationships, work, friends — if not, make a mental note to get out of your rut. I don’t mean immediately or overnight — though, if you do have that opportunity by all means take it — rather, little by little. You’ll see that with your happiness, you’re able to wake up easier and actually have a little pep in your step throughout the day — maybe even with less coffee than usual.

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