, , , , , , , ,

As far as years go, there’s no denying that 2016 has been a real humdinger.

A good friend recently told me that she felt like she’d experienced more ups and downs than a yo-yo on an elevator and was just praying she’d make it to Christmas with her sanity intact.

We can all relate, right?

Seriously. Here are just a few of the things on our extensive list of 2016 peaks and valleys, and this list barely scratches the surface:

  • A startlingly long list of celebrities passed on, including Aton Yelchin (Star Trek’s Chekov), David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, and Gene Wilder.
  • We witnessed the highs and lows of the Summer Olympics in Rio—everything from the US winning 121 medals total (many thanks to Micheal Phelps) to the Phelps Face phenomenon going viral and the health and safety concerns over the Zika Virus.

So, with all of that behind us—and thankfully so—it’s the time of year where we all pack up our emotional baggage, slap on our 2016 travel sticker as a memento, and move on to the Holidays.

Ah, yes, the Holidays (woohoo)!

From the end of October through December, you start to notice all the signs that the Holiday season is here once again. With it comes a wealth of opportunities to stoke the creative fires that dwindled or burned out under the weight of the year’s stressors, responsibilities, etc.

From the silly to the sentimental, here’s my Top Ten List of Things About The 2016 Holiday Season That Uplift And Inspire Us:

  1.  Toe-tapping music: Sleigh bells ring, jingle, and rock. Santa Baby puts something swanky under the tree for you. Rudolph gets that big promotion from Santa, and we all rock around the Christmas tree.
  2.  Nostalgia: Remember the excitement of waking up at an obscene hour of the morning, running to the tree, and weighing and shaking the brightly colored, bow-bedecked packages in your pajamas? That one box was so big—it just had to be something special!
  3.  Peace on Earth, Good Will To Men: In a year when party lines ended up in every sandbox, and rhetoric became a big, bad duel conducted with mouth-pistols at fifty paces, this is the good news. All that self-righteous, me-me-me-and-mine stuff doesn’t belong to the Holiday Season. It’s time we man and woman up, and put aside our differences to celebrate love, tolerance, and fellowship with humankind.
  4.  Weather: Folks that live in the Southern climes (like myself here in Southern California’s Inland Empire) look forward to finally wearing a sweater. Many in the Northern climes, and mountains, and those traveling in that direction look forward to skiing, snowboarding, and hitting someone obnoxious in the face with a snowball.
  5.   Food: Whether it’s cakes, pies, and cookies or turkey, ham, green bean casseroles, Waldorf salad, and cranberry dressing, we all have our favorites this time of year. We’re going to eat at least some of them and maybe doze off in a great big recliner by the fire afterward.
  6.   Family get-togethers: It’s the time of year to reconnect with those who know you better than anyone and love you in spite of it. Grandmas, grandpas, moms and dads, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, even cousins and extended family—whether you see them in person, call to chat, or reminisce over fond memories of the loved ones who have gone, they are all with us in one way or another.
  7.  Seeing old friends: Your best friend from high school, your beer-drinking buddies from college, the kid you went to summer school with, or friends you once shared a daily commute with on the train back when you worked for XYZ company. There’s always someone to reconnect with, sharing stories and laughter, and remembering what you loved about them—and still do.
  8.  Capturing memories: It just wouldn’t be the Holidays without all those photos and videos you take and share on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit and more. Happiness is contagious, and we all do our best to share and spread it.
  9.  Best of 2016 recap: Don’t forget all the TV shows, movies, and music—you get that last chance to revisit everything you loved and hated, in Technicolor, one last time.
  10. New Beginnings: New Years rings in a fresh start, complete with all the lessons you learned in 2016 behind you. You will most likely make a few resolutions—lose weight, get a job or a promotion, take up a team sport, write that novel, etc. There are plenty of things you to put on the list, but don’t forget the most important things:  Laugh more. Love more. Worry less.

And don’t forget to spread the love by sharing all the things that uplift and inspire you with others this Holiday season!