It’s the Most… Wonderful? Time of the Year

Good morning dear friends!

Christmas is fast-approaching, and the frenzy of the season is upon us. I admit that despite my best efforts, periodically I find myself caught up in it. Scurrying about stores, nearly colliding with too many vehicles to count in busy parking lots (seriously thinking about investing in a horse and sleigh – I can barely move in a parking lot without almost hitting a car or person, stresssssful), waiting in long lines, frustrated by the mass of people also trying to buy wrapping supplies or some other “necessary” item for Christmas.

Instead of letting impatience ruin my day, I’ve actually met a lot of nice people waiting in lines. We’ve shared jokes, commiserated over the weather together, and sometimes even shared a little of our life story with one another. I’ve learned more about strangers in a few minutes than I ever have, and it’s no accident. There has never been a better witness for me that God is truly in all things, even in the mundane activities like waiting in line for a mid-errand, power-boosting latte at Sweetwaters.

In a weird way, as much as I continue to battle the consumerism that is the holidays, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t enjoyed doing my holiday errands because of these strangers with whom I’ve shared my life and let’s be real, my struggles. Maybe it’s because I spend most of my days in solitude, but I’ve really begun to look forward to conversing with strangers, even if only for a few minutes. It is the most real and simple way to spread Christmas cheer.

Disclaimer: I’ve watched about 20 Hallmark Christmas movies since being sick (I picked up a bug in California affectionately named “the AGU flu”) and am therefore unashamed to use cheesy phrases like “spread Christmas cheer.”

But seriously, can we spread more of it?

Kudos to these awesome ladies. Who wants to do this with me? Next year, I’m coming for you Olaf onesie.


The holiday season is portrayed as being full of love, laughter, warm fireplaces, with lots of gifts under the tree, stockings stuffed by Santa, reindeer alight on rooftops…

…but the reality is that for many, Christmas is the most difficult time of year.

It’s a hard time for those estranged from family members, who have lost a loved one, who are waiting for a vocation, and don’t even get me started on the Season For Cute Couple-y Things… It’s the hardest season to be single, aside from maybe Valentine’s Day – although sometimes Hollywood really #nailsit with an appropriately timed movie starring Bruce Willis –  Hollywood, you just get me. But I digress…

Jokes aside, I ask only that together we be cognoscente of the fact that a lot of people are having a really difficult time right now.

Instead of flaunting our #special #family #potterybarn moments on Instagram or Facebook, could we reach out to a friend or family member who is away from home for Christmas?

Could we limit our “humble brag” social media posts? (Fact: Research from Penn State suggests that our carefully curated highlight reel doesn’t actually affect our own happiness, however it does negatively affect the self-esteem and life satisfaction of those who view them). Food for thought.

Instead of buying the most expensive gifts we can find, could we settle for a simpler gift and donate books to a children’s hospital or give monetary donations to a church or a charity we believe in?

Instead of rushing through our errands, could we stop to talk to the people around us?

Instead of staying within our comfort zone, could we reach out to someone who may be lonely and offer them a kind word?

Now, more than ever, we must be the change we wish to see in the world.

The best way to experience joy ourselves is to share it with others.


Wishing you the very best holiday season, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

I’ll see you on the other side.


For more inspiration on how to #SpreadCheer this holiday season, hop over to Becoming Minimalist for 12 Simple Ways to Spread Cheer.

More inspiration:

  1. ‘Tis The Season to Share Your Story
  2. All The Things You Don’t Need For A Perfect Holiday 
  3. Inspiring Compassion: Why The Holidays Are The Hardest Time of Year For Those Who Have Lost a Loved One
  4. Single During The Holidays: It’s Complicated


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  1. Patricia S Burch says:

    Love you Arie! Praying for future Christmases shared with the love of your life! It is going to happen! Sing the song from “The Polar Express” in your head courtesy of Josh Groban, “If you just Believe!” HUGS (Olaf style)!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Chuck & Patty

    • Thank you Patty, you are so sweet. You nailed it: The Polar Express is my favorite Christmas story & song! I bought another copy of the book to read to the nephews and niece on Christmas Eve 🙂 Wishing you all a warm & Merry Christmas!


  2. Patricia S Burch says:

    Following a day with the cousins they will enjoy the calm and quiet of you reading the them! They are all getting bells…BELIEVE!

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