At this time of year when you start anticipating the holidays, I bet you are not looking forward to the pressure and frenzy of bustling around trying to buy, buy, buy.
Rather, it’s the warmer and genuine respite of connecting with friends and family, feasting on good food, some needed relaxation and maybe some fun out in the snow and sunshine.
I think we all look forward to these envisioned quality times, but too often we find ourselves bogged down instead with the need to shuffle around in a herd, combing aisles looking for not merely the most heartfelt token of love and appreciation, but anything that will work last minute.
We continue to feel trapped by an applied cultural norm that the act of “giving” means “buying.” But there are other forms of giving.
Some studies show that the act of giving thanks helps reset our emotions and actually makes us feel happier. When we feel happier, we find ourselves more relaxed and centered, which makes it easier to connect with our own creative nature. So as you prepare for the holiday season, reflect and think about what habits hold and create meaning. And maybe while you are giving thanks during the Thanksgiving holiday, you may find yourself creating and making those gifts of appreciation, rather than buying them online.
The movie “Happy” reveals that the act and feeling of happiness is controlled by various inputs. Fifty percent is because of our genes (a happiness set point), 10 percent is based on the circumstances of our lives – status, money, career and the objects with which we surround ourselves – and the remaining 40 percent is believed to be subject to intentional behavior and choices.
For example, by looking local and supporting local artists, we, as a community, are fulfilling our own and others’ human needs of creativity, participation, meaning, understanding and sense of community. Buy local and you’re really giving twice.
“Happy” (you should see it) also shares the idea that building and having a sense of community with positive social relationships are some of the best generators of happiness. This process thus lends a positive feedback loop – the more community connections and relationships, the happier people become and the happier residents are – the more connected a community can be.
With the holiday season upon us, here at the Durango Arts Center we are shifting our focus to being grateful for our community full of local art and artists, our supporters and members, and our ability to continue offering platforms, outlets and opportunities to grow and promote artists of all ages and abilities.
And as your community arts center and fellow member of Local First and the Durango Gallery Association, we promote the act of looking local, supporting local artists and giving the gift of local art this season.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Elsa Jagniecki is the marketing coordinator at the Durango Arts Center.