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It’s that time of year again when people hit the stores to get those holiday gifts. Often you’ll see stories in the news about crazy crowds of people stepping over each other to get that limited quantity sale item.

Many people comment that the holidays have become crassly commercialized and are losing their meaning. Shopping is often to blame, but could holiday shopping actually be a spiritual experience?

Hope and Optimism

For most of us, holiday shopping is an annual tradition. Whether you’re one of the first people in line at midnight on Black Friday or a last minute Christmas Eve shopper, there is an underlying feeling of hope and optimism. You know that you will find something to give to your loved ones. You anticipate the look on their faces when they open your gifts and hope they will enjoy them.

Although holiday shopping can be crazy and stressful, think about the positive spiritual lessons it can bring. That may be one of the best gifts you can shop for!

Holiday shopping can also remind us of fond childhood memories with family and friends. Maybe you had a special shopping tradition of hitting the stores early and then going to brunch. Or maybe your parents took you to see Santa Claus. The sights and sounds of the mall with its decorations can bring back those magical memories from childhood. It can help revive that feeling of “anything is possible.”

When we see many people out and about in the stores it is often a good sign for the economy. That gives us hope that things will improve in the future. If things were really so bleak, people would give up and stay home. There is obviously something good about the holidays that keeps our spirits up and makes us willing to open our wallets.

Even if your financial situation isn’t the best right now, there is always the hope that it will improve. While you may not be able to make all the purchases you’d like, you can still find or even make meaningful gifts. Participating in the hope and optimism of the season is free!

Connecting With Others

Holiday shopping can get us caught up among the crowds, but that can be turned into a spiritual experience. There are numerous opportunities for connecting with the people we encounter while shopping.

While many people push and shove in the stores, this is a great time to spread some positive energy. Offer to hold the door for a stranger or let them go ahead of you in line. Long checkout lines can be annoying, but you may have the opportunity to chat with someone while waiting.

Look them in the eye and greet them as another spiritual being. Understanding that you are both here for the same reason can be enlightening. Just like you, this person has wants, needs, fears and joys. Connect with them and with that part of yourself.

What about the stressed-out cashier? Connect with him or her by showing tolerance and compassion. After all, haven’t we all felt overwhelmed at work? Sometimes a smile or a kind word can make a tough day at work seem easier. The cashier will likely appreciate it and it will make you feel good!

The Gifts

Of course the holiday shopping trip is about buying gifts, but what do the gifts really represent? They are a material expression of love, caring, sharing, gratitude and joy. Even if you are purchasing a gift for someone you don’t really like you are still making the effort to recognize him or her.

Essentially when buying and giving a gift, you are giving a part of yourself. When we think about “the perfect gift” for someone, we may really be saying, “What is the perfect part of myself that I can share with this person?” At the end of the shopping trip, it’s really all about the love.

Although holiday shopping can be crazy and stressful, think about the positive spiritual lessons it can bring. That may be one of the best gifts you can shop for!

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