It’s pitch dark when you wake up, even though it’s well beyond night time. There’s a frost on the grass and the leaves have fallen from the trees in a matter of days. Despite the coming activities, whether that be school or work, the crisp autumn mornings - and even the gloomy and gray ones - make everything seem brighter and days seem shorter.

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You know when you look out your windows or drive down the street that there is a spark in the air that always comes after Halloween. It starts with the radio station that plays Christmas music from the first of the month all the way through the holidays. Then, the storefronts fill up with packaging and gift sets to prepare for the hoards of people who shop this time of year. The village strings lights on the trees in the park and decorates the street lamps with wreaths.

It’s the time of year we all start thinking about others - “They would love this,” you’ll think. Coats and canned goods pile up as we think of our neighbors who crave the enjoyment of the season as much as we do.

You try not to rush the feelings, because it’s only November, but you can’t resist. You’ll come home and it’s pitch dark outside again and you heat up some leftovers from the night before, longing for the food that will come in a few weeks time.

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As you wind down for the evening, you climb into the crisp coolness of your bed and can hear the rustling of the fallen leaves as the weather shifts for a soggy, drizzly night. You drift off, thinking about the things you need to do tomorrow. It’s stressful, but one day closer to some time off. The next thing you know, it’s morning again.

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It’s important to remember during this time of year how lucky we are for what we have. Think of those who could use some extra love, and help them however you can. Volunteer at your local food pantries and soup kitchens. Donate coats and warm clothing in areas the winter gets frigid. Most importantly, remember that after the coziness of the holiday season ends, to continue to think of others during this harshly cold yet heart-meltingly warm time of year. Not everyone enjoys this time of year as it can bring up sadness of not being with others, and quiet loneliness. Smiling is free, and can be worth more than you think.

Written by @stefaughnan on the We Heart It Writers Team