Vanas: Keeping the Spirit alive

By D.J. Vanas © 2008
News From Indian Country

I’m a self-admitted head-over-heels sucker for the Holidays and I have a strong suspicion that I’m not alone. I hear people so often say, “I wish that time of year lasted longer.” After all, it’s a time of family activities, good food, time off work and visiting with friends. It’s a time to be reminded of the simple and often underappreciated blessings in life. And whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or nothing at all, people just seem to be friendlier this tender time of year.

People are more willing to give to charity, allow someone to merge into traffic or hold a door open. We tend to make more time with the family, have softer edges and even smile more often. In a fit of spontaneous joy, we’ll drop money in the Salvation Army pot, hug people, play in the snow, sing carols off key with reckless abandon, wear the goofy Santa hats with our kids and act like small children ourselves in public (or… maybe that’s just me).

Let’s face it, even with the stress of finding the right gifts or planning for family parties, this is just a better time of year. It brings us back to the basic good things in life. It reminds us of the people we treasure most on the journey. For the sake of making this point, I’ll call this phenomenon “Christmas spirit.”

But what happens after January 1st? It all seems to go away and we resume our hard edges to rejoin the daily grind. We aren’t quite as charitable, honk at the one entering traffic and let doors close behind us. I think many people get sad after the Holidays not because of the money spent or the food consumed, but more because deep down somewhere we know that when the decorations and lights get packed away, the music CDs go back to collecting dust, and the tree gets thrown out, we tend to do the same with that Christmas spirit.

Who says it has to be this way – the calendar, the commercials, the holiday movies on TV, the sales at the mall? Why does the Christmas spirit only have to be alive during the Holidays? After all, who is it causing all this positive commotion, all this Christmas spirit? It is us! We have the power to maintain and preserve this positive energy, kindness toward others, this giving, loving, spirit in our daily lives all year long.

And I can’t think of a better resolution this year than to make a conscious effort to share this spirit! We live in a world of traumatic events, war, famine and an all too often shocking lack of civility between members of the human race, whether it’s in the Middle East or at our local grocery store. I think this planet, our community and our homes could do with more of this spirit. If you’re rolling your eyes at this over-soft, gushing article about how to make the world a better place, well… I told you in the beginning, I’m a self-admitted head-over-heels sucker for the Holidays.

I wish you and your family the best of blessings!

D.J.’s upcoming schedule:

January 9th
United States Air Force Academy
(Colorado Springs, CO)

D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas (Odawa) is a nationally acclaimed motivational storyteller, success coach and the author of the celebrated book, “The Tiny Warrior: A Path to Personal Discovery & Achievement” and audio CD series “The Warrior Within.” D.J. uses traditional warrior concepts and wisdom to inspire people to achieve their best in life, school and career and owns Native Discovery Inc., a company dedicated to “building the warriors of tomorrow… today.” He can be reached at (719) 282-7747 or at