Igniting the Purpose of the Holidays

The holidays have been tough for my family. For the last four years, my side has faced some kind of life-scare that always shows itself sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’ve spent too much time in hospitals. It’s surreal, really, to have the whole world talking about celebration when someone you love is suffering; when the ground under your feet is shifting and you can’t find your equilibrium. Surely, the world would stop spinning? But no. Life moves on, regardless of what is happening.

For me, this has expanded my perception. Seeing other families in the ICU, when they too should be nestled in front of the hearth of a fire or sitting around the dinner table together or watching their favorite Christmas movies, makes you realize that there’s always more going on with people than we realize. That the holidays for so many aren’t happy, happy, joy, joy, but a struggle to keep it together. That there are no days off from the fragility of being human.

At the same time, I still love the holidays for what they represent. To me, they represent the best of what we can be. They represent love. As I sit beside my twinkling Christmas tree as I write, I’m filled with such joy and warmth and gratitude. Peace.


In a world that has clearly lost its mind and in the face of our own struggles, no matter what is going on in our lives, let’s find a way to remember what is at the core of it all.

It’s not about the sales and the presents. Or the parties and the food. It’s about love.

The rest is supposed to be how we show our love (but even that seems to get lost in the noise of it all).

All my work is centered around purpose. I spend my days asking people, “You do what you do for the sake of what? Why do you care?” in an effort to connect them to what drives them at their core; their “why” or what I call their Super Objective. But this morning I realize that many of us have forgotten the purpose of the holidays. We’re so busy being busy that we’ve lost our “why.”

When I talk about the Super Objective, I encourage people to use active verbs, to put them on an active path. You can’t achieve your Super Objective from the sidelines, it requires you to act. To connect. To lift up. To unleash. To foster. To cultivate. To spark. What is the impact that you are here to have?

To Love.

Far too often, the verb “to love,” is treated passively. It’s a nice thing to say, but too often, it’s lost the ability to ignite us into action. But what if we were to approach it as the active verb that it truly is? To love.

Did you love actively in that last conversation you had with your kids? With your partner? With your friend? Did you love actively when buying the latest gadget to put under the tree or did you just buy something to check it off the list? Are you loving when you make dinner, or just doing what needs to be done?

This holiday, I encourage us to love actively. To get to the root of what the season is all about. Is the way you “love” active or passive? Hold your own feet to the fire and ensure that your actions are in alignment with purpose.

We never know what our holidays will bring. So much is outside of our control. But we can control our own actions. What is the purpose of the holidays? What is the impact you want to have? Love. Actively.



Kimberly Davis
Kimberly Davis
An expert on authentic leadership, Kimberly Davis shares her inspirational message of personal power, responsibility, and impact with organizations across the country and teaches leadership programs world-wide; most notably, her program “OnStage Leadership” which runs in NYC and Dallas, TX. Additionally, Kimberly teaches for Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Cox School of Business’s Executive Education Program's Transformational Leadership Program and their Latino Leadership Initiative. She is also privileged to teach for the Bush Institute’s WE Lead Program (empowering female leaders from the Middle East). Kimberly is a TEDx speaker and her book, Brave Leadership: Unleash Your Most Confident, Authentic, and Powerful Self to Get the Results You Need, is the 2019 winner of the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Business and Career; an Amazon Bestseller in Business Leadership, Business Motivation, and Self-Improvement, and Motivational Business Management; and was named as the number one book to read in Inc. Magazine’s “The 12 Most Impactful Books to Read in 2018,” with a cover-endorsement by best-selling author Daniel Pink.

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  1. Great reminder Kimberly – to love actively. At the center of my Christmas is “God so loved that He GAVE….”; talk about an active love! As for me, I had to get beyond the risk that love involves…..taking the risk of being hurt or rejected; finally realizing the risk is always, always worth it. The holidays are wonderful, but also hurtful for so many….an empty chair, especially that first holiday after a loss. I’ve worked with the incarcerated for years……an especially hard time to be separated from loved ones for any reason. We are made for relationship – with God – with others; we are wired that way. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you so much, Mike, for this thoughtful reflection. I’m grateful to Dennis for creating relationships here. I already feel the difference.

  2. Love is the answer It is life… to live is to love
    Christmas was always based on the fact that God so loved the world he sent his only son…. it’s his birthday celebration…
    It’s important to see past the gifts and the trees.
    We all get busy doing, But we need to be Present too. Thanks for this touching piece. It really is about love and you can’t buy that nor identify it with the value of a gift given or received… I really don’t like that part at all. The best gift is that of time….spend time with people. Once gone you can’t get it back…
    Thanks again Kimberly
    Merry Christmas

  3. Lovely message Kimberly. Sometimes tragic situations or scary incidents give us greater pause for concern. We suddenly realize how much we love certain people or miss them, whether holidays or not. Last year I flew home to visit family. I hadn’t seen my sister in three years, and strangely enough she got up at 6 a.m. to walk the dog. She stepped on a hornets nest in the dark and was attacked by a nasty swarm. They stung her like crazy and she had a terrible reaction. We brought her to the ER and she was eventually okay much later, but it put things into immediate perspective. We tend to take one another for granted, and holidays should serve to remind us that we need to put aside our silly differences…

  4. Thank you for your your lovely post Kimberly it went straight to my heart.

    I lost my mum at Christmas time so I too have been in the midst of loss, fear and heartache when everyone else around is embracing the season. That said we knew we were losing our mum and that we would have one last Christmas with her and she knew it too so……… she made all of her preparations and with our help bought and wrapped gifts ( the last ) wrote and sent cards ( the last ) and did many other things in keeping with her long held traditions knowing it was for the last time.

    The thing is my mother knew how to do Christmas, so much so that I think she passed it onto us in our DNA because as a family we all embrace the season with gusto. Growing up we were fortunate to receive lovely gifts but more importantly it was indeed “love” that was evident in everything she did, all year round and especially at Christmas. The way she prepared food and dressed the house, the way she trimmed the tree and the way she cared for us throughout our entire lives. We could literally taste and feel the love in everything she did for us.

    And so it was bitter sweet to open her gifts on that last Christmas Day knowing it would be for the last time. And to read the words of love in her cards knowing they too would be for the last time.

    She died on the 22nd of December and wasn’t there on what we thought would be our last Christmas Day with her. But because of what she gave to us across our lives, we are able to embrace the love and joy of the season as it comes around each year. For me Christmas is and always will be a beautiful reminder of her…… and I love that.

    • Oh Dee…I have tears rolling down my face! What a remarkable woman your mother was and to so thoughtfully prepare in that way… I am inspired by her. Thank you for gifting us with her story!

  5. Kimberly, I love the insight that you share in this article. Thank you for the reminder about loving actively. That is the heart of the matter, and the choice to be all in is in our hands.

    Like you, I’ve experienced several of the Thanksgiving to Christmas life interjections that you describe. A few years back, my mom was in a coma during Christmas, and my husband was finishing up his cancer treatment. My mom ended up pulling through – a real Christmas miracle, and my husband remains Cancer free. Although, my mom passed away just after Christmas almost six years ago. In the grand scheme of things, however, we are thankful for so much.

    Yet, the holidays are tough for me, and there’s always slight anxiety as the season approaches. I recognize the triggers better now and am working hard to embrace the things that matter, such as love, friendship, family, laughter – the little things and the moments that make our hearts full — loving actively, as you so beautifully describe it.

    I wish you a wonderful holiday, Kimberly, and thank you for this lovely piece of writing.

    • Oh Laura, my heart aches with recognition, as you share your story. Hugs to you! Thank you for your gracious comment.

  6. I love this beautiful reminder to love, Kimberly. For me, that’s an active verb in my life all year round. Four years ago at this time, I was spending lots of time at the hospital with my son, for my son, in meetings with health care providers, etc.. His life hung in the balance. Once you’ve walked the really difficult path of losing a loved one to death during the holidays or anytime of year for that matter, or been sitting in a hospital cafeteria all by yourself eating food because you knew you needed to eat while hearing Christmas music being played, and you looked around at the single people in that cafeteria wondering who they were praying for… I walked that walk all by myself. Beloved friends and my daughter stayed connected to me by phone and text so I felt fully supported, loved, prayed for-both my son and I.

    Loving each other, loving ourselves through the darkest hours, months, or even years takes courage, faith, strength, resilience, and a willingness to not close our hearts no matter what. Living open hearted, being loving in all circumstances continues to be a transformational, spiritual practice of a lifetime.

    I appreciate your encouragement to live from and with love, to be love. I wish you much courage and strength as you navigate a challenging time period in the life of your family. My thoughts, love, and prayers are with you, my friend, now and always.

    • Oh Laura, we’ve walked similar hallways in life, friend. Thank you so much for sharing your story and sharing your heart! Hugs to you!