"No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place."
In nature, there's no such thing as right and wrong. The seamlessness and functionality of the natural world reminds us that ideas of 'good' and 'bad' are just constructs of the human mind. They don't really mean anything. It could help to think of the events in your life as snowflakes, not in the typical corny-metaphorical way, but instead from a natural perspective. Duality doesn't exist in nature, and recognizing this can help you a lot this time of year, whether you get a Christmas gift you don't like, the Hanukkah candles won't stay lit, or you have to hang out with a family member you've had conflicts with in the past.
"Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water."
This holiday season, or anytime for that matter, while surrounded by loved ones, you may be tempted to flaunt your interest in Buddhism or philosophy. I've met plenty of people who give out a vibe of, "Oohh, yeah. I'm into Zen. Aren't I cool?" At times, I've realized after a conversation that I gave off that vibe, and it's no fun (for anyone involved). If you can help it, realize that Zen, and philosophical study and inquiry in general, is for you personally and privately. Meditating isn't something you do so you can brag about it or feel superior over others. To act in such a way would be completely against the whole idea to begin with. So, keep in the mind this slogan. Realize that, regardless of how much you've learned about your life's philosophy this year, it is necessary to live ordinarily and true to yourself. Menial tasks like chopping wood and carrying water are things that Zen monks spend most of their non-meditative time doing at monasteries. Simple actions in everyday life are meditation in themselves. Adopt this attitude for the holidays, and you'll probably end up being the most diligent gift-wrapper, cook, and conversationalist you know. Just don't brag about it.
"Zen is selling water by the river."
As I just mentioned, one might try to glorify Zen practice as something above-average or superior. In reality, Zen embraces and acknowledges the absurdity of life and does not pretend to be anything more than an ideology. The reason Zen advocates for direct experience over pure study is that we only truly learn through experience. And even experience can feel meaningless and empty. So, selling water by the river means embracing meaninglessness and experiencing life despite the fact that it can feel empty at times. This proverb also takes on a new meaning from a modern perspective; at this time of year, the media and the people around us put so much emphasis on things, prices, items and commodities. People even go so far as to trample each other for two-dollar waffle irons at WalMart . Many of us (often unknowingly) turn into the fool who decides he should buy water from the man selling it, when the free water from the river is right there in front of us. Advertising convinces us that things we spend money on will make us happy, when, in reality, it's the giving spirit and the warm comfort of close friends and family that make the holidays so enjoyable.