For various reasons the holidays haven’t been my favorite time. Grief, bitterness and pain have been my excuse but are not a reason for terrible past Christmas’. You see it is a choice to be happy or not. If your happiness is dependent on circumstances we could all work up a good cry. Many people are entering this week with loss, loved ones too far away, or unable to have the circumstances they desire. Christmas comes and goes and sometimes we don’t have that miracle or wish fulfilled. But should that make you miserable? When I was a teen in Miami I had friends who bought and wrapped presents for family who were restrained by Cuba. They could not visit there either. I asked why in March the gifts were still in the living room. My friend answered that they would be coming and they were ready for that day. Since then I have applied that idea to many things in my life, the hardest was losing a child. 25 years later I can still choose to cry or laugh; cry for missing him or delight myself in the antics of my grandkids. When I choose to make my desire the least important one and strive to help another, I experience joy. My gifts are unimportant and I would be very uncomfortable with extravagant gifting. I also do not stress with reaching the finish line of Christmas morning. If I find the best gift for someone I give it right away. I do not wait for December. And yes, I don’t have a lot of gifts ready on the 25th. Yet I enjoy giving all year round and I will not be restricted by a once a year holiday to love on my friends and family. Christmas may come but once a year, but the spirit of Christmas lives in my heart year round.