Posts tagged with ‘celebrations’

23 feb

Never Miss An Opportunity To…

JayForteWith Valentine’s Day just behind us, I was reminded of our tradition to take a day and celebrate special events. We celebrate mothers, fathers, pilgrims, veterans, workers, religions traditions, famous people and presidents. Overall, a good idea.

What struck me more is the concept of a holi “day.” If these are really important events, why do we limit the celebration to just a day? Shouldn’t we identify the reason for the celebration and build them into all aspects of life each day?

Here’s my thought. Holi “days” aren’t cutting it. The daily celebrations are too infrequent and don’t encourage enough of the right behaviors to last all year. In a world that is increasingly unkind, selfish and confrontational, couldn’t we make an improvement if we were to extend the meaning of the celebrations? Couldn’t we stay more focused on being kind, considerate, passionate, loving and respectful?

In my house, we wake up each morning and say either “happy anniversary,” or “happy Valentine’s Day.” Every day we celebrate our relationship as the cornerstone of our lives – a good and happy place. The message of both an anniversary and Valentine’s Day is a daily celebration.

Imagine if each day were a “thanksgiving” celebration. What if each day you made time around the dinner table to celebrate one great thing that happened. Imagine how it could change the victim and cynical perspective that our troubled world inspires. Make the home the safe place, the grateful place, the loving place that supports, inspires and protects. This prepares each member of the house to boldly go into a challenging world and be more upbeat, optimistic and caring – something the world could use more of. And we have a chance of making it happen if the thanksgiving celebration was a daily event.

I find that holidays have become either commercial events or traditions. Neither supports the true intent of the holiday. Gift giving is a great thing; it should never be obligatory. A celebration of faith and belief should not put you into debt. A celebration of freedom and of those who fought for it should be a daily event, lest we forget the degree of their sacrifice and the requirement of our continued sacrifice. Again, daily lessons, daily celebrations.

So my suggestion is to replace holi”days” with a “never miss an opportunity to…” approach – a new daily focus on celebrating what matters most in life. Here is the start of my “never miss an opportunity to…” list. What would you add?

“Never miss an opportunity to…”:

  • Tell (and show) the people you love how much you love them and what they mean to you.
  • Share a story about your life’s success and failures to teach someone else.
  • Make someone else feel important, even if you did most of the work.
  • Show your patriotism and respect for your country.
  • Show your tolerance for and acceptance of someone who does not look like you or believe in what you do.
  • Stop and appreciate a flower, a tree, the wind, a star, rock formation or any other part of nature.
  • Know yourself, your talents and passions, so you can build a life that makes you happy, successful and engaged.
  • Say thank you, hold a door open, let another person or car pass ahead of you, or to be kind to someone you don’t know.
  • Give away some of your “extras” to someone who has no “extras.”
  • Learn something new to expand what you know and your contribution to the world.
  • Make the first call even when it is the other person’s turn.
  • Share a call, thought, card or gift with someone you love or who needs to hear from you – just because.
  • Say you are sorry when you hurt someone – even if you didn’t mean to.
  • Allow another to have an opinion different than yours, and still respect them.
  • Spend more time with your pet; be kind and respect all life.
  • Develop your personal faith; have it encourage your acceptance of yourself and others; allow it to accept, not reject others.
  • Keep your planet safe for those who will need it after you.
  • Talk about differences instead of fight about them; find commonalities and reasons to get along instead of disagree.
  • Respond to natural and social tragedies with care, urgency and self-sacrifice.
  • Sing, dance, laugh, tell a joke, cry or be more human, even when others you don’t know are watching. Invite them to join it.
  • Smile at someone you don’t know.
  • Bound out of bed, excited you have another day.
  • Remember you must share the planet with others who have the same right to be here, be respected, earn a living, find love, develop their talents, create a life, share a history and make and impact.

How will you never miss an opportunity to connect the very special people in your world? And how can you make the core of our holiday messages become part of your daily approach to life?

Never miss your opportunity to celebrate and to make a difference. Your life, your choice.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

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Posted by Jay Forte on February 23rd, 2010 in Family, General, Health, New Directions, Relationships, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , ,

22 dec

Holiday Traditions: Family, Feelings and Festivities

JayForteTraditions are the passing on of customs and beliefs from one generation to another. At this time of year, there are many traditions that focus on celebration, fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving. It may be Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza. It may be December 25th, January 6 or any days before or after. It may be with candles, lights, gifts or song. It may be with pageants, rituals, food or religious ceremonies. Regardless of the manifestation, the essence is the same – family, feelings and festivities.

Different, but the same

Many people are upset lately by the use of the phrase Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Actually, Happy Holidays shows the awareness of and respect for the variety of holiday traditions that are celebrated this time of year – each meaningful, valid and right for those who celebrate them.

What makes our society so successful is its diversity. We are no longer a melting pot – where we have all blended to be like each other. Instead, we are now a tossed salad – together, but we maintain our identity and uniqueness. Our traditions are part of our uniqueness – they reflect our backgrounds, histories and perspectives. Our traditions help to keep us grounded, connected and happy. And whether we celebrate Dec 25, the week before or the week after, we celebrate with family and friends; we celebrate our feelings for each other – and we commit to the process of celebration.

When we accommodate and respect what and the way others celebrate, we actually learn more about each other; we better understand others and get closer to our own traditions. We are more connected as people.

The need to accommodate change

The second great thing about traditions is they evolve. Because people are influenced by life and today’s world, we constantly update our holiday traditions; we focus on their core meaning but change the way we celebrate them.

I remember the first Christmas after my parents divorced. The center of a close Italian family and its years of holiday traditions changed almost overnight. My brothers, sisters and I were determined to reinvent our celebration of family, feelings (because we’re Italian I’ll add “food”) and festivities and created a new manifestation of our Christmas Eve traditions; we created our “sibling party.” Though my five siblings and I are close, we committed that for at least for one night in the year, all six of us and our partners/spouses and families, would get together and celebrate the family, food, feelings and festivities that had always been so important to us. We maintained some of our prior holiday traditions and added some new ones. We stayed focused on the reason for getting together and rebuilt our (new) holiday traditions around it.

And as our kids start to meet their significant others and become part of another family as well, we will modify our traditions again. But the essence of our traditions is family, feelings, food and festivity. And if we need to create it in June instead of December, then June is just fine. If we need to host it on New Year’s Day instead of Christmas Eve – then we do. No complaints. No lamenting. No whining. We keep the spirit of our traditions intact – the date, time and place will move as life moves.

So, what is the real reason behind your traditions?

How do you keep the meaning of your traditions alive, as your family changes, grows up, moves out and moves on, and not allow these changes to undo what is important?

How do you work with life’s changes to keep adding more value to your traditions, share their meaning with the next generation and love the event, whenever and wherever it is?

What will you do to keep its essence clear and alive in a world that constantly changes?

“Christmas (Holiday) gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” 
~ Oren Arnold

Wishing you “Happy Holidays” – a time for the celebration of your traditions of family, feelings, food and festivity. May they be extraordinary.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

Posted by Jay Forte on December 22nd, 2009 in Family, New Directions, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,