Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from White and McGowan!

We know everyone experiences this time of year in different ways. For most, it's a time to celebrate and enjoy all the season offers - the music, weather, lights, family gatherings, etc. For others, though, the season also brings stress and, in some cases, sadness. We know some feel the loss of loved ones deeply around the holidays, and others feel the sting of estrangement from those they love. 

Despite the multiplicity of experiences, we wish you joy, hope, peace, and love throughout this season.

For us, the holidays are another opportunity to step outside of our Self and turn our focus toward others. It's something we strive to practice year-round, but the holiday season brings out unique opportunities to consider how we might show love to others.

Culturally, gifts take center stage during Christmastime. Because of this, we risk turning the season into little more than an opportunity to satisfy our craving for "stuff." From the youngest age, we inherently associate a sense of self-centered materialism with the holidays. Eventually, though, we discover the same thing as Jim Carrey's Grinch in the famous Dr. Seuss story, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas:"

"That's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's always been about. Gifts, gifts... gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts! You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I'm saying? In your garbage!"

The Grinch taught Whoville an important lesson: they made the entire season about gifts, only to throw those once-coveted presents in the garbage days after Christmas ended. 

We're guilty of the same thing. How many times have you bought your children the present they wanted most only to watch them lose interest days later? As adults, we want the latest gadget, vehicle, toy, article of clothing...but once we have it, it quickly becomes normal and unimpressive.

Why do we do this? Why do we hold up "stuff" as such an integral part of the season when we know the happiness won't last?

We do it because it's not actually things that we want. We want to know we're loved. We want to know that someone "gets us." We want to know we're valued in such a way that our loved ones would take time to consider how best to celebrate us. We want to know we matter to our friends and family. We want to know we belong.

That's what we want.

It's easy to say we want gifts because those are tangible. They can be added to a list. It would be awkward to ask your parents for Trust and Validation. Those cannot be purchased at a store or put under a tree. But, at our core, we want what the gift represents. And when gifts are given without considering what they represent, they end up in the garbage along with last year's presents. 

We mistakenly believe gifts are meant to impress, when the truth is they are meant to connect us to each other.

The holiday season is a reminder of our connection. The songs, the lights, the gatherings, the services - and certainly the gifts - are reminders that every person has great value, belongs, and is to be celebrated. The best gifts are rarely the most expensive because the value lies in the connection it creates, not in the actual dollars it cost. 

So in this season of giving, what gift can you give the people you love most to let them know of their great worth? What gift can you give your children to help them understand their inherent value as people, and also the joy they bring you? What can you give to parents, co-workers, neighbors, or friends to deepen your connection?

Give gifts this year in order to connect with those you love, and watch joy pour out into the season.

Our firm values the connection we share with each of our clients. We're thankful that you trust us with not only your financial assets, but also with your long-term goals and dreams. We are humbled to play this role in your life, and look forward to serving you for years to come. 

From all of us at White and McGowan, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.