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Celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, and All We Have to be Thankful For

"'Tis the season" to be . . ." Thankful, reflective and uplifting! During Thanksgiving I like to spend as much time with as much family as I can. I spend time with the people I care for, express what I am grateful for and eat the great food that is collectively prepared.

Then Christmas arrives (often before Thanksgiving even begins. People can't seem to contain their excitement). Over time, the reasons behind Christmas celebrations have evolved and shitfted. For some it's the season to rack-up as many gifts as possible, spend time with family, remember Christ, and/or spend copious amounts of money on people. For me, it's another chance to be grateful for what I have, spend time with family and give and receive thoughtful gifts. It is also a time to remind myself of the importance of practicing unconditional love and compassion, which Jesus Christ represented.

While I have always loved Kwanzaa, as I grow older I'd have to say it is one of my favorite holidays. Kwanzaa is an uplifting and reflective holiday where each of the seven principles are celebrated one by one for seven days:

Umoja (unity)

Kujichagulia (self-determination)

Ujima (collective work and responsibility)

Ujamaa (cooperative economics)

Nia (purpose)

Kuumba (creativity)

Imani (faith)

"Kwanzaa addresses the need to stop and look at our values".  We examine these principles collectively and discuss how we can incorporate them into our daily lives; the importance of unity and collectivism, uplifting our communities, and ourselves while reflecting on our achievements of the past year and our hopes and plans of action for the next. I love being able to share this holiday with my family and diverse groups of friends.



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