December awakens us to the reflection and fulfillment of the past year. As we rush to the end of 2018 with our individual complexities and perspectives, we undoubtedly also begin to celebrate. We celebrate the new year coming, we celebrate our gods, we celebrate those we love and appreciate. We may also be celebrating our good fortune. Regardless of what we choose to celebrate, it seems to be a collective agreement to take stock and evaluate where we are. And perhaps, where we’re going in the new year.

At times, we may notice ourselves getting swept up in the season of rejoicing with our loved ones. We may see our love materialized as gifts, food, and spectacle. It is, after all, a wonderful life we have created. Gratitude and the desire to share our abundance is often the impetus. We desire to be generous to those who have shared in our lives throughout the year. It fills us with gratitude and appreciation.

It is also the time we are reminded to look around outside of ourselves to see our neighbors. This is an opportunity, if we haven’t yet done so, to acknowledge those who are in need. While we celebrate, we can also be there for those who have more obstacles before them. How can we be gracious in our celebrations? Are we sensitive while being inclusive? Can we assist others?

Giving is a tremendous way to acknowledge someone. It doesn’t have to be lavish as much as thoughtful. Celebrating that person is as individual as that person is themselves. Sometimes rather than an item, your companion may be in need of compassion or mindfulness. Perhaps taking the time to go outdoors on a nature hike or an afternoon in a public garden together, or lunch and a movie. Maybe just sitting down for a cup of coffee and a chat. So often the hustle and bustle leave many feeling alienated, especially when they may be unable to celebrate in the way we do. Taking the time to enjoy their company is a gift that shows you care for them and their wellbeing. Creating a safe place for them to confide, mourn or just be together can have immeasurable value in someone’s life.

If we have had our own setbacks through the year, whether it be health, financial or personal loss, are we gracious in receiving? Oftentimes, especially at this time of year, we can feel overwhelmed with loss, with stress. Feelings that can hinder our ability to receive. Being mindful of our needs is the first step in receiving. Loving ourselves, despite any setback, trauma, or disillusionment, and taking the time to rest, reflect and renew, is celebrating our highest self. Creating our own safe place within ourselves allows us to process the year and what we have endured. Allowing ourselves the freedom to acknowledge and grow from our experience is a celebration of self, however painful or enlightening it may be.

How are you celebrating this year end? How are you welcoming your friends and family; how are you welcoming and celebrating yourself? Make a list, and check it twice. You may just find something – and someone – truly nice