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Greed and Goodness Alive: the Holiday Top Five

12/20/2010 10:27 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

During the holidays we see greed and goodness -- the best and worst of humanity -- intimately entwined like the red and white in a candy cane. And this is nothing new.

Charles Dickens, who detailed his delight with Victorian toys in A Christmas Tree, awoke our social conscience with A Christmas Carol. In Luisa May Alcott's Little Women and The Quiet Little Woman happy families which at first thought only of themselves, recognized their selfishness at Christmas and met the needs of others.

Let's check out how the red of greed and white of goodness face us in the 21st century.

Greed's Top Five Rules

5. Keep Busy. When you are broke and exhausted, you've got the holiday spirit.

4. Life Hurt. Distractions dull its pain, and acquisitions are the opiate of existence.

3. Devotion can be bought so give gifts liberally. This tried and true strategy works for everyone from managers to grandmas.

2. Buy. Gifts make up for year-long grumpiness and help the economy. Workers in China will thank you.

1. You are the center of the universe. Without you it would unwind, so you deserve whatever you want. Make sure your children know that the world revolves around them and their desires. That's what Christmas is all about.

Goodness' Top Five Rules

5. Simplify but don't let simplicity rule you. Life is not simple, and you can't get through this season without complications. But take five and ponder peace.

4. Forget about reproducing all the joys of your childhood in a single season. Instead take the party with you - make merry moments wherever you go.

3. Give. Be a secret Santa to a needy family. Support a worthy charity. Look for ways to bless others. Prove it really is better to give than to receive.

2. Prioritize and Utilize. Demonstrate that materialism is a means, not an end. Stuff makes life easier for us and can help others, so it's good. But you can't be truly happy focusing on things, or truly rich if you're not thankful for them.

1. Remember to live goodness all year long. As Honey Jean says in my novel The Topkapi Secret "Make the world a better place or you're just takin' up space!"

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