People in my circles over the years have been busy, productive sorts, as I suspect is true of many others. When the holiday season hits, folks seem a bit stretched out, trying to accomplish many things in a crunched period of time, clearing their to-do lists a little, until more is added to their plates later.

Don’t get me wrong. There is so much to do in December with Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Shopping, food preparation, travel plan coordination, community events. All of these tasks add on pressure to the day-to-day routines we all have, adding stress that we probably don’t need.

When people talk about what they love about the holidays, central to the discussion is the time they spend with family and friends. At least, that is what I hear about. Generally, they are not talking about that cool gift they received. Especially the next year, five years or a lifetime later.

But they do remember the tradition of picking out the Christmas tree. Putting up favorite ornaments that have graced the evergreen year after year. Often made by little fingers that are now grown. They remember the ceremony of lighting the candles of Hanukkah. Reading and sharing meaningful holiday stories. Decorating that favorite holiday cookie. Singing the celebratory songs. Celebrating with the feast of Kwanzaa.

The holiday season is, at its core, about love. Peace. Goodwill. Generosity. Community. Celebration. Those best qualities of our human nature. Let’s try to stay present to these amazing traits during this busy time and remember why we love this time of year as much as we do.

Peace to you and yours.