In the past, many of us were accustomed to celebrating the holidays with reckless abandon. Over spending in the name of holiday cheer was quite common. At times, our decorating turned into neighborhood contests to see who could string the most lights without tripping the circuit breaker. Our biggest holiday challenge may have been what to buy a distant relative we saw once a year. Oh yes, those were the days.

It is now 2012 and for some of us, our financial resources as well as our spending habits have changed considerably. So how do we create a happy holiday season without all the stuff? We get back to the basics. We start new traditions, which may really be old traditions passed down through the generations that some how we all forgot.

The following are tips for putting the Happy back into the Holidays:

1.  Recognize that the Universe has just presented us with the best present ever. We now have the opportunity to tap into our inner resources as we create fabulous holiday treats. Remember those amazing home baked goods that our loved ones made only once a year? With less time spent circling the mall parking lot, we now have more time to create our own delicious holiday goodies. Furthermore, our children will be thrilled to be able to help out in the kitchen as new family traditions are created.

2.  Bring some holiday joy to those in need. Helping others can be very therapeutic when we are feeling uncomfortable with the changing times. There is always someone that can use a little extra kindness during the holidays. Volunteer at a soup kitchen and see the appreciation in the faces of those that are so grateful for a warm meal. Remember that we are all connected. When we give to others, we give to ourselves.

3.  Let go of the past to make way for the new. When old traditions end, we experience a sense of loss. Expressing our feelings to a compassionate listener and then having them validated will make it easier for us to move on. We need to create new traditions where we feel a sense of joy and love. Creating festive holiday or New Year's cards as joyful music plays in the background, can be a fun family project. Making colorful paper chains and then stringing them around the room, can add a touch of holiday cheer to any home. As we tap into the Universal flow, we will find a sense of peace and happiness that no amount of money can buy.

4.  Celebrate creating new traditions. The memories we are creating now with our own hands are the ones we will look back on with a sense of wonder. We will marvel at how creative and resourceful we were and how many people we surprised with our unknown talents. Perhaps this year's holiday creations will end up being a hit and blossom into a new home business. We never know what miracles the Universe is sending us in disguise.

5.  Remember your Presence is your present. The new traditions that we are creating are based on loving kindness. The more we are able to reside in the present moment this holiday season, the greater our gifts. Practice gratitude and forgiveness especially with those who need our love now more than ever. We never know how our Presence can make all the difference to someone this holiday season. Sharing our unique gifts with others is truly the most wonderful holiday present of all.

May you all have a peaceful and happy holiday season filled with many blessings.

Laura Goldberg has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology, a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development, and a Teaching Credential. She has worked with under served youth and their families as a Child and Family Therapist in the Foster Care System, a Positive Parenting Educator for Burmese refugees, and a Math and ESL Tutor. Currently Laura is a Life Coach helping individuals navigate the waters of change. Utilizing a strength-based approach, she has had the honor to assist many individuals work towards empowerment and increase their quality of life. Read more of Laura Goldberg's inspirational writing at

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Comment by Laura Goldberg, M.A. on November 19, 2012 at 11:23am

Thank you so much! I am very grateful.

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