Q. Because of the pandemic, we are limited to only one present each this holiday season and I am already depressed about that. What do I tell my kids?

A: I have always found that honesty is the best policy. Simply say that due to the pandemic there is very little in the way of discretionary funds beyond the house payment, insurance, fuel for the car, PG&E, cell phone payment, internet, and so on. Therefore, in addition to all these ongoing “presents” each person will get one additional gift.

One family explained that their “one gift each” policy was going to be geared to something the individual needed for their health and well-being (e.g., new jacket, shoes, gym fees). Apparently, listing the ongoing “presents” each took for granted, went a long way in helping family members get a bigger picture.

It can be fun—and enlightening—for each family member to create their own map to happiness. Know your happiness. Write the word happiness in the middle of a large piece of paper. Write what and who makes you happy and why, branching out from the center. List people, places, creative activities, food, spirituality, music, beauty, pets, holding a baby or an animal, reading or writing poetry, musical activities, attending a funny film, or exercise. How do these things connect? Keep coming back to your map and add to it with insights, a collage, or drawings. Naming your happiness can be as much a spiritual practice as an insight into your lived values, like taking an environmental inventory of your life.