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Sometimes the best gifts are free

Joy is cheap this holiday season if you focus on feeding your soul.

Joy is cheap this holiday season if you focus on feeding your soul.

The holiday season is a tough time for many Canadians. The majority of us (60 per cent) live paycheque to paycheque as we shoulder heavy debt loads. Just meeting the minimum of holiday expectations stretches some of us to the brink. To top it off, we’re inundated by articles extolling the virtues of cost cutting, but there doesn’t seem to be anything else to prune.

My prescription for such woes is to focus on feeding your soul. It doesn’t involve much time or money, but I guarantee it will help shed your financial woes and give you a dose of feel good at the same time.

Call up a family member or friend you haven’t spoken to for ages.
I grew up in a time when calling long distance was either an occasion or meant bad news. At Christmas we’d huddle around the phone for a few quick words with relatives across the continent. Now long distance rates are so cheap there’s no excuse not to call. And if it is long overdue you’ll spread considerable joy.

Visit a shut-in
It’s a lonely time of year for many seniors in retirement facilities and nursing homes. Those who don’t see well enough to read would welcome hearing you read aloud a favourite book. Others might enjoy a drive to see Christmas lights.

Take part
In every city, town and village in the country there are pageants, parades, ceremonies and caroling. Most of them are free, so get out and enjoy yourself.

Take pleasure in the moment
Whether it’s walking your dog or even shoveling the snow, try to live in the moment rather than seeing it as a chore. Yes, I know it’s a cliche, but it really works. Revel in the fact that you’ve got the health to do these things. My bit of mundane joy for 2011 will be polishing the furniture. Mmmm, love that lemon scent!

 
 
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