A Free Christmas Gift – Hugs

I treated myself to a massage today as an early Christmas gift.  As the holidays approach our teeth clench, our shoulders tighten, and our low backs throb, as we attack our endless to-do list of holiday preparations.

Across Europe people share good cheer; but whereas the French blow air kisses to the cheek and the British shake hands, Americans hug, especially in the Midwest, especially in my family. Maybe it goes back to my Viking ancestry when close body contact meant survival. At any rate the Olson -McKinzie clan I grew up in were huggers, whether it was a big bear hug from mom or a special squeeze from Papa Mac.hugging siblings

Ironically during the Internet age in our fast paced, high tech society, we can access people across the globe instantly electronically, yet we have become more physically disconnected to others than ever.

People in the helping professions, like my nurse friends, have long understood the healing power of touch. Medical studies prove that touch decreases anxiety, increases the number of white blood cells, lowers blood pressure, increases endorphins, and helps you sleep better. The ancient ritual of hands on healing has been part of religious practices for centuries.

I love words, but words fall short.  No written expression can heal the mind, body, and spirit as greatly as the power of touch.

Though we associate this time of year with razzle-dazzle holiday glitz euphoria, for many people it is also a time of sorrow as they remember lost loved ones. Days are short and dreary; nights are long and lonely.  Everybody needs the touch of other human beings especially now. Even though economic times are tough, and we can’t all buy extravagant Christmas presents or afford a massage, hugs are free.

The greatest gift we can give is this season is ourselves.

Who have you hugged today?

Posted in inspiration, relationships.

27 Comments

  1. Ooh, lovely sentiment and told so nicely. Hugs are indeed wonderful and my immediate family are all big huggers as are my husband and my children. I was so surprised when I married into my Wisconsin/German in-law family that they never hug! I hugged them anyway and they got used to it.
    Here’s a virtual hug from Chicago to you Pat! Merry Christmas.

  2. Ooh, lovely sentiment and told so nicely. Hugs are indeed wonderful and my immediate family are all big huggers as are my husband and my children. I was so surprised when I married into my Wisconsin/German in-law family that they never hug! I hugged them anyway and they got used to it.
    Here’s a virtual hug from Chicago to you Pat! Merry Christmas.

  3. Here’s a big squeeze sent your way. Relax those shoulders, listen to “Happy Holidays” loud and clear and remember to look people in the eye. Sometimes I talk while doing other things, not taking the time to look and listen to the ones I hold dear. ( I suppose I’m trying to be efficient.) Especially during the holidays, I’m reminding myself to slow down and have Conversation, rather than divying up to-do lists, giving a high five, and scurrying on my way. I even stopped and actually held Dusty’s face in my hands for a moment this morning, rubbed his ears and told him he was a good dog — (willing that to be so!) I think it lowered BOTH our blood pressures. Merry Christmas!

    • Oh Amy this is so sweet and oh so true how we sometimes are too rushed to actually “listen” with our eyes. I can just picture you talking to Dusty! Sending you special hugs from Switzerland from your ol roomie!

  4. Beautiful,Pat! Hugs are so important for all of us. Although the vast ocean separates us, every time I read your words I feel like I am getting a warm hug from you, like you are reaching out from my computer screen to brighten my day. It’s the next best thing to being there! So hugs right back, my friend. 🙂

    • I had you in mind when I mentioned my nurse friends and their special knowledge of the healing touch. Even though you have retired from the trade, you are still comforting souls around the world through your words.

  5. Beautiful,Pat! Hugs are so important for all of us. Although the vast ocean separates us, every time I read your words I feel like I am getting a warm hug from you, like you are reaching out from my computer screen to brighten my day. It’s the next best thing to being there! So hugs right back, my friend. 🙂

    • I had you in mind when I mentioned my nurse friends and their special knowledge of the healing touch. Even though you have retired from the trade, you are still comforting souls around the world through your words.

  6. Very touching, Pat. As always, I send you my cyber hugs as that is as close as I can get right now! I’ll store them up for perhaps another short summer stop at the lake. Happy Holidays.

  7. Very touching, Pat. As always, I send you my cyber hugs as that is as close as I can get right now! I’ll store them up for perhaps another short summer stop at the lake. Happy Holidays.

  8. Right back at you Pat! The power of touch(HUGS) awesome Christmas gift!
    Happy, Healthy & Prosperous Holiday Season!
    Clara.

    • When I wrote this I thought of you, my dear nurse friend and fellow blogging buddy. After my car accident in France thirty years ago, it was the gentle touch of nurses that helped me heal in a hospital bed 4,000 miles away from home. May God grant you the strength to continue your noble work through gestures and words.

  9. Right back at you Pat! The power of touch(HUGS) awesome Christmas gift!
    Happy, Healthy & Prosperous Holiday Season!
    Clara.

    • When I wrote this I thought of you, my dear nurse friend and fellow blogging buddy. After my car accident in France thirty years ago, it was the gentle touch of nurses that helped me heal in a hospital bed 4,000 miles away from home. May God grant you the strength to continue your noble work through gestures and words.

  10. What a great post, Pat. There is absolutely nothing more comforting than a hug. What a wonderful reminder that the season really is about our connections with others and not all the other trappings. Looking forward to hugs from our French family soon.

  11. When my husband said his dad was nervous around me, I asked why. He said because I’m a hugger and his dad is a handshake man. 🙂

  12. When my husband said his dad was nervous around me, I asked why. He said because I’m a hugger and his dad is a handshake man. 🙂

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