My dear friend Amy was kind enough to be my guest writer for this blog post. Please enjoy her thoughts about the Christmas Season and how she is focusing on being present this year.
Does It Feel Like The Christmas Season To You?
I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t quite feel like the Christmas Season to me…yet. This could be for a few reasons:
- Though I am grateful for the sunshine and the daily Vitamin D available to us this time of year here in sunny San Diego, the weather this December has been warmer than it has in years past. For this Virginia gal who misses her four seasons, it doesn’t quite have the same “feel” to the holiday season in Southern California…never mind that I’ve been here for nine “winters” now.
- I can’t believe that we’re already approaching the end of the year (isn’t that something our older relatives always said, and yet I find myself saying all the time now how quickly time flies).
- I am being intentional about giving each day/season/holiday its due time – so this year I am focusing and reflecting on the meaning of Advent (spoiler alert: it means, “coming”) and its purpose, versus viewing it simply as a means to Christmas.
- But perhaps the biggest reason is, I made a choice this year. I decided to minimize the consumerism and commercial hoopla that comes this time of year, by keeping the gift-giving humble, and by not saying “yes” to every invitation that appears in my inbox. And…I’ve decided not to apologize for it.
The Gift Giving
Okay, if I’m being totally honest with you, the beautiful addition of our sweet baby this year and our pending cross-country trip to be with our families kind of made the gift-giving decision for us. BUT, that’s not to say that I haven’t noticed or appreciated the fruit that comes with it. In lieu of gift exchanges with everyone I love, I’ve opted to spend quality time with them instead. Because here is what my usual gift exchange typically looks like: a day or two before the meeting, I run around to as many stores as I can in search of the “perfect” gift for said loved one, get it wrapped last minute, and arrive breathless to our scheduled time with a heightened anxiety of, “will she like this?” thus making it about me, instead of her. Multiply that by every loved one I have…and that makes for one tired gal! This year, I can leave that flurry behind and be truly present to her, instead of worrying about the pride of a perfect gift. Now there is something to be said about a good thoughtful gift, and I am giving some gifts this year too (hi, Mom and Dad!), but to be truly present to a loved one…is there a better gift than that?
And when it comes to parties this time of year, I do love a good gathering (my degree and background are in event planning, after all). But I prefer them to be intimate and meaningful, and for me, showing up and trying to cram a year’s worth of small talk with everyone in the room brings more stress than enjoyment. Besides, what does it say that the lack of a 100 mile-a-minute pace makes it feel less “holiday-ish”? I am enjoying the freedom that comes from the intentional “yes” as well as the intentional “thanks, but not this time.”
I’m not Scrooge, I’m just learning how to enjoy this season with minimal stress on my health and my bank account. And I can’t say that it will be like this every year, or that there won’t be years to come where I WILL get caught in the craze and hub-bub of what this season tends to offer, say yes to every invitation, and do everything the opposite of what I just shared with you. But, to worry about that now would defeat the purpose of this post, no? Presence over presents.
What are you doing to stay present this season?