3 Simple Ways to Make This Holiday Season Your Most Meaningful


3 Simple Ways to Make This Holiday Season Your Most MEANINGFUL

Why should you make this holiday season the most meaningful one of your life?

Because you don’t know how many Christmas seasons you have left. Or how many you have left with your loved ones. This may be your last one, for all you know. I’m not trying to be Negative Nancy … but it’s true.

Buddhist monk and thought leader Thich Nhat Hanh says:  “Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”

It’s easy to cop out on the Christmas spirit by buying gift cards, regifting bottles of wine, or running out to Shoppers on Christmas morning to buy chocolates on sale, or is that just me?  We are all so busy with our busy lives, that Christmas ends up passing by in a flurry, and all we have left are expensive gadgets that need to be updated every year. Or even worse, unwanted gifts that pile up in our junk drawer.

So let’s make a choice to make this Christmas the best one yet, no matter what faith you have. Yes, Christmas has become extremely materialistic, marketed, and overwhelming.

BUT, it still is a MAGICAL time of year even though you may have lost your belief in Santa Claus.

I was raised in a Buddhist family, so you may be surprised to know that Christmas is a very big and important time of year for me. My family are part of the original ‘Boat People’ from Vietnam that were sponsored by a very generous group of Canadians.They were scared, nervous, excited and COLD when they arrived to in Canada in November of 1979. The sponsors set my family up in a small house to rent and showed them how to be Canadian. They got their first Christmas tree and celebrated their first Canadian Christmas that winter. You can understand why Christmas is a very special time in our family, celebrated with lots of love, memories, food, and gratitude.

Christmas doesn’t have to be a church-going, religious occasion. It doesn’t even have to look much like a ‘typical Canadian Christmas’.  Our Santa Claus was my skinny, black-haired, Vietnamese uncle with a mustache and no beard. We didn’t eat a traditional turkey dinner. All our Christmas dinners had spring rolls and dumplings instead.

It was still a very meaningful occasion even though we are Buddhist because of how we chose to look at and celebrate this special time.

We are lucky to have been sponsored to Canada by wonderful and kind people..I am lucky to have been born in such a great country, and am extremely lucky I have amazing food to eat and a warm bed to sleep in.

This year, I will think twice before I complain about how many gifts I need to buy, how unhealthy holiday meals could be, or how cold it is.

Instead, I will make this holiday season my favourite and most memorable one yet. So please join me in using these 3 simple ways to bring meaning to your life during the holiday season:


  1. Spread LOVE & JOY.

Find at least 4 people, and tell them these 4 things:

  • What you love about them.
  • Why you are proud of them.
  • Why you think they are brave.
  • Why you are grateful they are in your life.

We often forget to tell our loved ones these things because our husbands, wives, children, parents, friends, etc. already know that we love them. Sure, they may know it. But they want to still hear it.  But please DON’T send it on Facebook or text . That is a very impersonal and gimmicky way to share or spread love.

Be genuine. Take some time and really think about what you want them to know. Send only to the 4 people who you have actual honest answers for. Share your love message on a card. Or send it in a video message. Tell them on the phone.

Best way is to tell them is in person so you can accompany it with a hug and kiss.


2.  Find something to BELIEVE in.

You may have outgrown your belief of Santa Claus, but remember, HIS presence is what makes it such a magical time of year for children. Because of their innocent and unwavering belief in him. Your life would be that much more magical if you had something to believe in as well. Your belief in Buddha, God, Allah, Mother Nature, Jesus Christ, The Universe, JP Sears, Womankind – any divine and supreme force, I don’t care if it’s one or all of the above, have faith in something!  

Brene Brown says: “Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.” (Sounds like she’s talking about Santa Claus to me, but you decide for yourself what or who that greater power is.)

You may already have a faith, but we all need little nudges and reminders to reconnect with it. Maybe you need to strengthen your faith. Or maybe you need to share it with others. Not in a pushy way. But it’s great to talk openly about your faith and why that makes you a stronger person. Please don’t try to convince others why your faith is the right or best one.

There is no such thing as the right faith or religion.

WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN IS TRUE FOR YOU AND ONLY YOU. So for this holiday season, get out your journal and write down what and who you believe in. And make a wish! And every day, remind yourself of that wish and believe that it could happen. And share your beliefs with other believers.

I’m not talking about a gift you buy and wrap up in a box. I’m talking about sharing  your gifts – the unique qualities about you that make you shine, that make you special, that make you YOU. Give away those gifts and don’t keep them to yourself. We all have gifts that we can and should share with the world. And not just one. We all have several gifts.

One of my favourite gifts that I love to share with others is the ability to reconnect with ourselves through yoga and natural movement – this allows us to feel empowered and free in our bodies.

Your gifts may include, but are not limited to:

  • Bringing others joy through song or dance
  • Teaching yoga
  • Photography
  • Painting
  • Making crafts
  • Giving helpful advice
  • Great communication
  • Providing comedy
  • Being loyal
  • Being a great role model
  • Dog-whispering
  • Nutritious and delicious cooking
  • Solving puzzles

Your gifts are shared when people thank you for being you – for making them feel better, for inspiring them, for feeding them, for creating hope, for making them laugh or cry happy tears.

We all have these gifts that allow us to deeply connect with others, we just have different ways of going about it.  And unfortunately, a lot of us don’t share our gifts because we are too busy or we think our gifts are not good enough. To make this holiday season more meaningful, it is essential that you share your gifts and don’t keep them to yourselves. This is the season of giving, not receiving. So give because you want to, not because you expect something in return.

It doesn’t take that much time or physical effort, it just takes a little bit of mindfulness and a dash of courageousness. Sometimes, some people may not appreciate our gifts, and that will discourage us. And these people are the ones that make us feel we aren’t good enough. But if we listened to this tiny group of people, all the people who could benefit from our gifts would be deprived of something so great.

The incredible thing about sharing your gifts is that it has a domino effect. It will cause others to share their gifts too! ‘Tis really the season of giving!



I genuinely hope that you are able to create more meaning for yourself this holiday season. It is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed. If you take the time and small amount of effort to do these 3 simple things, I believe you will be able to  create joy and happiness for yourself and your loved ones.  Not just during the holiday season, but throughout all the days of the year.

Please hop on to our Facebook page and comment on how you felt after trying out these methods.

Or let us know what you do to add meaning to this wonderful time of the year!

We will be choosing a meaningful response from the Facebook thread to receive a wonderful Christmas yoga gift …Looking forward to reading your comments!

Oh and look out for the next article: How to craft a daily yoga practice that will ensure you reach all your New Year’s goals


Sincerely Always,


Nancy Ma

Expert Physiotherapist & Yoga Coach

Writer for YogaToronto.ca