Another season comes to a close. I like this time of year because “reflection” is my jam. I never subscribed to the materialistic perspective of the Christmas/Hanukkah season. It just never felt right to pimp-out Jesus.

The artisan I once was poured out DIY crafts a long time ago. Being super-rusty with all of that, I no longer make gifts. I do buy gifts and like to surprise loved ones, but I don’t believe in fighting over coveted purchases, or getting upset if something is sold out.

My grandparents used to tell my parents at Christmas that all they wanted from the kids was good behavior. Remember that? When people behaved? It was special and a gift to all.

Behaving well with intention is a rare gift to find these days but one we can make ourselves. Even our leaders could use a reminder to behave. Many billionaires enjoy rides to space, some make the giving pledge to give away a lot of their wealth, and yet something as basic as food insecurity is still not resolved. That would be the ultimate Christmas-spirit gift.

Or bullying Meghan Markle (and other women). It’s not OK. It seems to me behaving well with intention would include celebrity brands launching products using planet-friendly resources and products.

It is scary how many times I’ve heard from people this season that something feels like it’s missing from the holiday season. That being said, even though in previous years, I have crafted resolutions, this year I’m throwing that away and beginning a “year of intention.” For this year of intention, I’m advocating for good behavior in the world.

On the local community stage, please be nice in the grocery store parking lot. Let’s be gentle and not aggressive. I will forgive, but not tolerate. My boundaries will require mutual good behavior in order to coexist. I think we can do away with aggression for a while. Our stomachs have gorged on that these past few years.

I will be intentional about all I believe in. I will advocate for more equitable health care. I will help create a better world for myself and those around me and hopefully they will do the same for others and so on.

Living with intention is about what we can give. Whether to ourselves or to others, either way it will be nourishing. So I am no longer complaining. I’m just going to continue to be part of the solution in some manner.

My grandparents believed that good behavior starts in your home or community. Being good to each other, even in disagreements, and respecting boundaries, even at family gatherings is a great practice. Let’s not violate privacy or be intrusive. We cannot take out our dissatisfaction with the world on those around us. Instead practice love and good behavior with intention.

EL Serumaga is a resident of River Forest and Founder of

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