The holidays are HERE! This elicits a slew of emotions for me, in the past mostly stress. Neither of my kids would cooperate for a holiday photo when we were last together this summer, oh well, no perfect holiday card, but hell, perfection is so over rated! I guess that’s one less thing on my list this year. I used to be a perfectionist. I wanted the perfect Christmas tree, the presents wrapped beautifully under the tree and holiday music playing while I sipped wine next to the fire. If only life imitated movies. I remember one Christmas I was fighting with my teenage boys at the time, I had the Christmas music on while I threw ornaments on the tree alone drinking my glass of wine totally pissed off and wondering where it had all gone wrong. I felt more like throwing the glass that year than creating the perfect Kodak moment, but I digress, I want to address the holiday stress that ramps up right after Thanksgiving when we realize that Christmas is coming at us like a freight train and we haven’t done a damn thing to prepare.
We need to realize that we create the stress, we do it to ourselves because we aren’t drawing boundaries and doing what makes us happy. We are doing what everyone expects us to do. We go to dinner with the in laws that drive us crazy, we drive frantically across town trying to please all the grandparents, we eat 2 huge Christmas dinners to make our relatives feel loved. We rack up our credit card bills to buy our kids all those gifts that will create that wow moment, we buy gifts for our boss, our postman, and whoever else gifted to us that we may have overlooked. What is this phenomenon about? Are we doing these things because they are expected? At what point do we just honor our truth and deal with the fall out? I’d like to take a vacation and skip Christmas all together. I would love to take a week off and just read and eat yummy food and play cribbage with my family, maybe walk the dog. The point is, we have a choice. We can say no to presents and yes to presence. We can say no to that holiday party and yes to getting in our jammies and watching A Christmas Story (which is a family tradition in my house). We can create the moments of joy and love that align with who we are.
I’ve also noticed this weird energy around people receiving gifts from me. I LOVE to give gifts. I just love everything about it, I love buying them, wrapping them and sending them off with a handwritten note. What I’ve realized though is people don’t want to receive the gifts because they feel obligated to buy me one. It’s one more hassle, it’s one more THING to do. Somewhere in that, I feel like the magic is lost. I can no longer buy certain people holiday gifts or give from my heart because they have taken that energy of love and turned it into an OBLIGATION. It’s sad to me that people can’t actually receive anymore, receive things with grace and gratitude. It’s twisted around and turned into some sort of gift giving competition. I guess I’m feeling disillusioned and heartbroken over the entire Christmas state of affairs.
This year, I’m going to stand in my truth. I’m going to go on vacation. I’m going to share my love with the people I love. I’m not going to worry about what people think for a change. I’m going to show up and be kind. I’m going to send out hand written cards rather than the glossy photo shot of my “perfect” family (I laugh as I type this because we are so far from perfect) or not send them at all. I’m going to give gifts and not worry about how they are received – nothing grand, just a gesture of love. I’m going to raise my glass instead of throwing my glass. I’m going to stand in my truth and let my light shine and if people want to turn that into something negative that’s not my problem. I may buy a stranger coffee. I may give a homeless person a coat. I don’t know! I just feel like giving and loving people unconditionally and not worrying about the “pleasing” part or the “meeting expectations” part. It’s time for everyone with an agenda to stop accusing me of being selfish for not being on their agenda and following my own. Why am I the problem when I don’t do what other people expect me to do? I haven’t figured out how to skip Christmas all together because I love the Christmas tree and music and I must watch A Christmas Story and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I also love receiving holiday cards in the mail instead of bills, so there’s that. I wonder if I’ll get removed from everyone’s list if I don’t send a card out this year, well, I suppose I can always make a Facebook announcement: Hi, I gained a few pounds, my kids refused to cooperate for a photo and my 2 dogs died so there will be no card from the Hutchinson Family. Will anyone even care or keep track? I’m sure someone does.
Please cut yourself some slack this year. Go for a Holiday Facebook Post, buy the holiday meal, eat pie or take a trip. Make things easier on yourself. The world will keep turning, the person who gets angry about your choices will hold or grudge or not. You probably can’t make that person happy no matter what you do anyway. I’ve reached a point of not caring what other people think. It’s time for me to be true to me, so happy holidays! Honor your soul. Create your own bliss.