I know we talked about gifts for playgroups and classmates yesterday, but we all know Christmas isn't about gifts. It's about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. We also all know that we will, in fact, exchange gifts and cards and celebrate in the more materialistic aspects of Christmas because it's part of what makes the season fun. That being said, I've discovered that my own life has been much simpler since I've trimmed my gift and card lists and focused less on that materialistic side.
Don't get me wrong. I still love getting gifts--I love giving them more, ESPECIALLY to my daughter. I love getting her toys and watching how excited she is to play with them (for all of five minutes ;) ) But sometimes I think we buy gifts for people simply because it's expected and because it's what we've always done.
This year I'm shaking up that idea. I've cut my card list down dramatically and my gift list even more so. In the past, I've sent out no less than 100 cards every Christmas...to all sorts of people. People I didn't even talk to anymore, people I really didn't care to talk to anymore. And yet, year after year they remained on my list.
This year I've given myself permission to take those names off the list and not feel guilty. I'm not going to return a card if they send one, because let's face it--they're probably looking for an excuse to take me off their list as well. Why let the vicious cycle continue?
This year I'm sending cards to people who really matter to me, people who I want to say "hey, I'm thinking about you even if I haven't seen you in a while and I want you to know you're important to me." This year my Christmas card list is down to around 30. And I'm hoping next year it gets even smaller.
I'm not a scrooge. I love Christmas. But I'm learning that by taking on what really matters to me, I enjoy this time of year even more and I'm getting to the heart of what Christmas is really all about.
The same applies to my gift list. Since Reagan was born, this has been reduced..til this year it's almost non-existent. A few people are getting checks from us because this year has been hard and we want to share our blessings with others...a few people are getting small token gifts that I knew they'd truly appreciate. Mostly I'm trying to just stop the gift giving cycle. If I see something someone wants, I'm going to get it for them--it doesn't matter if they are giving me a gift; simply because I know it will make them HAPPY.
I'm also not going to give someone a gift just because they've given me one. I know that may sound selfish. But I'm tired of the requisite, you give me a gift, I'll give you one. I'm tired of the 'oh have an extra gift in your closet in case someone gives you a gift that you hadn't planned on and you need to have one to give back to them.' If someone gives me a gift, I'm going to be gracious and thank them, but I'm not going to feel the need to clutter their lives with more stuff and I'm not going to make myself frantic about getting them something.
This tip is all about giving yourself permission to let go this Christmas. Let go of the expectations, the obligations and just enjoy the things that you feel in your heart you NEED to do. Don't be forced into thinking you have to have the best display of lights on the block, send out perfectly worded Christmas cards and deliver cookies to all 80 people in your neighborhood. This is Christmas. It's time for family. It's time to SLOW DOWN, relax and enjoy what you have.
Take my advice, it's well worth it for you AND your family.