Christmas time has always been an immensely happy time for me and my family.  This year it has been a particularly busy time for us.  We had Lauren’s 21st birthday party a week ago, which was just gorgeous, and then last weekend we were in Sydney for my cousin, Anna’s, wedding to Oliver. Being blessed with such wonderful celebrations stimulated my thinking about the value and benefits of having celebrations and rites of passage in our lives.

The definition of celebrate is to engage in a joyous and often social activity or event, usually in honour of some specific event or achievement.  It comes from the latin celebrare meaning to frequent, famous.  Celebrations have taken part across cultures and time to bring people together and to acknowledge and honour people, events, effort and endeavour.

Celebrations make us feel good. When I am at a wedding or I see a wedding party, for example, I always feel happy for the people involved, and it reminds me of my wedding to Helmut. People have a smile on their face which makes them feel good and makes other people feel good too.  Whenever we either participate in directly or observe happy and joyous events we automatically secrete serotonin, our “feel-good” neurotransmitter, making us feel better, happier and more joyous.

There are many opportunities to celebrate events and people over the year:

  • Birthdays, particularly significant birthdays such as 1, 10, 13, 16, 18, 21 etc
  • The end of the school year / graduation
  • Secular religious traditions
  • House warming
  • New Year
  • Chinese New Year
  • Back to work – January celebration
  • New neighbours
  • Bon voyage to friends and family
  • Work colleagues / projects
  • Visitors from overseas etc
  • Funerals – although sad, are a celebration of a person who is dearly loved.

Celebrations can remain simple affairs, and simplicity is often the key to their success.  People love to come together for a purpose and to feel included and valued.  At this wonderful time of the year I encourage you to take the time now and into 2012 to think about, plan for and create wonderful moments to celebrate the important people, things and events in your life.  It creates rich memories and brings families, friends and other people closer which only serves to enhance the richness and quality of our life.

Merry Christmas and may 2012 be your best year ever!  I wish you abundance, joy and peace.


Posted in On Happiness