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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

December 2011 Letter From The Publisher

Dec 01, 2011 01:15PM

My childhood was blessed with Norman Rockwell memories of Christmas mornings gathered around the twinkling, tinseled tree with my seven siblings and sleepy parents, enveloped in the magical embrace of gifts from a benevolent Santa and the deeply felt security of a loving family. It was a hard act to follow when I became a parent.

To this day, come the holidays my inner child still looks for presents marked with my name and the chaotic, joyous connections of a large family. Fortunately, over the years I’ve discovered that the feeling I yearn to capture is something I can carry in my heart all through the year. It’s most readily accessed when I step into the role of giver—but not when I’m frantically doing last-minute shopping just to have a gift to wrap. I instantly related to Beth Davis’ leading factoid in her article, “Meaningful Giving,” A recent U.S. poll reveals that a majority of the stress 90 percent of us feel about the holidays is related to gift-giving.

I mean, we all benefited from Mom’s late night shopping and wrapping, painstakingly making sure we each felt equally gifted, but at what cost? Like many others, I’m still trying to overcome the notion that more gifts are better and that their numbers and expense somehow indicate how much we care.

In our feature article, “Do Good, Feel Good,” Lisa Marshall explains why we all love to give of ourselves—whether it’s the gift of time and talent or simple goodness from the heart; perhaps home-baked cookies or a lovingly knit sweater. We also find gratification in donating to worthy causes, however modest our gift. I am fascinated to learn that giving stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain that drugs do.

In this special Giving issue, we share a rich banquet of gifting ideas. Our heart’s picks are not only more fun to give, but that also keep local dollars at home to strengthen our neighborhoods and communities.

As we head into 2012, I’m inspired by Wayne Dyer’s way of looking at each day, with his, “Five Intentions for the New Year”. I love his counsel, “Commit to at least one daily experience where you share something of yourself with no expectation of being acknowledged or thanked.” We may never know the difference we make when we take the time to smile at a stranger, donate to a food bank, visit a sick neighbor or do some other good deed.

This holiday season, I’ll be ringing in the New Year with my 88-year-old mother, Mrs. Claus, and some of my siblings at our family cottage in Michigan, where there will again be mild chaos and meaningful presents with my name on them. May your inner child find its magical moments, too.

Wishing you the most important gifts of the holiday season…
Peace, joy and love from our Natural Awakenings family to yours,


Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

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