When it is not the holiday season, I talk about how much I love the holidays. And I do. I love all the lights, the music, the spirit of giving and the magic of it all. However, when the season is actually upon us, I find myself dreading it at times. It has become all about shopping and spending money, which results in gift giving overload. This becomes totally stressful; between Christmas cards (getting the picture, mailing them all out), finding the time to do the shopping, spending too much money, decorating, wrapping, cooking. Ugh! My mom reminded me today of a Little House on the Prairie episode when Mary and Laura were so excited and grateful that they got an orange in their stocking. An orange! We are so far removed from that, it’s scary. We need to get back to basics. Or close to the basics.
Do something for someone else/give back
I have a chapter on empathy in my book where I talk about doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return. What better time to do this then the Holidays? Every year my family donates some money to a charity or organization. A couple years ago we took the money and shopped for the food pantry. Last year we gave the money to another organization, but this year we made a point to involve the kids. We went shopping for things to donate to the Veterans. The kids read the list of what was needed and found the items in the store and kept track of the prices so we got the most for our money. Nobody was allowed to get anything for themselves. It was only about taking time to do something for someone else.
I was particularly stressed one day a couple weeks ago and decided something needed to give. I did some of my shopping online, which helped. Then I made the executive decision to bag the Christmas cards. I decided that it is not a race and I am not winning any prizes or losing any prizes by not doing a Christmas card (or whatever it is we take off the list). This left more time to do other things, like get the tree and decorate without feeling stressed. This allowed me to really take it in and enjoy those moments.
The Holiday season is about so much more then presents. But we have created this crazed, stress-filled, present giving season and have lost the true meaning and spirit of the holidays. Let’s try to get that back. Maybe we just need to stop and slow down. Maybe it’s taking something off the holiday to-do list. Whatever it is, we need to do it so we can appreciate and experience the true meaning and spirit of the holidays with the ones we love.
“The true meaning of the holidays is one of joy, love peace, and happiness. Cultivate a child-like awe and appreciation and have a joyous holiday”