It’s a few days before Christmas and I haven’t written a card or sent gifts to my family in England. I have journals that list every card and gift that I have written for decades. I also usually make a note of the design of the cards sent to each person so I don’t send the same one if I have leftovers. So for a previously obsessive planner I’m sitting here feeling unusually chilled. Oh we don’t have a tree up either.
So What Has Changed?
I have pared down my gift giving over the years, I only send to close family but I always make sure that something is sent before Christmas. I just got over being sick for almost a week and that lost me some time but I had already half decided that I would be doing things differently. I will be visiting my family in England in January and have asked that we celebrate together. I will hand pick some gifts (ok yes maybe I will get them in the sales!) to take with me. Every year I spend hours trying to find the perfect gift. After my Dad passed we found many gifts unused or unopened, he told us every year, don’t buy me anything I don’t need it, we thought we knew better. For him the gift represented money wasted and created guilt, we just didn’t listen
I am an aspiring minimalist and having a house full of stuff I don’t need adds to my stress levels. I have friends in relationships who tell me they don’t buy each other gifts, it all seemed too sensible and adult when I considered it in the past. Now I see that I have been holding onto the belief and hope that something I find wrapped under the tree can recreate the childlike feeling of Christmas. I’m not saying I don’t love gifts or will never send them. I just know they don’t have to make or break a happy Christmas or any holiday
Perfect Gifts For You and Me
This year my Christmas gift will be more valuable than something I can buy on Amazon or in a store.
These are the gifts I will focus on giving and receiving this year. I encourage you to join me.
The Gift of Listening
I will work harder to hear what people are communicating rather than what I think they are saying.
The Gift Of Time
I will balance my time behind the screen with that which I spend with real people.
The Gift of Fresh Air
I will leave the house more and stop pretending I get more done if I stay home all day.
The Gift of Sleep
Evidence shows that regular bed times and seven to eight hours sleep a night is a good practice. I will continue to make this my habit.
The Gift of Random and Not So Random Acts of Kindness
Even though I have not sent Christmas cards this year, I do send random cards, gifts and words of encouragement. Join me in spreading more kindness next year.
The Gift of Non Comparison
People are doing the best they can with what they have. It is easy to believe that everyone else’s life is perfect compared to us. In truth everyone is fighting battles that you will never know. When they share a post that may seem self congratulatory, that may be their way of focussing on the positive. Share their joy, encourage and avoid judging.
The Gift of Walking Away
I see online comments that I could take issue with numerous times a day. Does it benefit me to argue with strangers or even friends and acquaintances on social media? Imagine what you could do with the time. Scroll on and spend your precious time in a better way.
The Gift of Gratitude
Look back at your life and think of the times you wished to be where you are now. Spend 5 minutes daily being grateful for the people and things that make your life better, easier, richer or more comfortable.
The Gift of Travel
Around the corner or around the world. Whatever your budget and time allows. Open your mind and open your heart to different experiences, people and food. There is a world out there that is so much better than seeing it on television or in a magazine.
The Gift of Reading
Holding an actual paper book in your hand has a magic that is different to a digital version or reading an article on social media. If you previously were a reader but got out of the habit why not pick it up again.
Libraries are a wonderful way to try books and find what you like. Most libraries also allow you to borrow audio books via an app. This has saved me money and sanity – I rarely listen to the news while driving but can’t wait to get back to my latest audio book.
The Gift of Taking Care of Yourself
Do an audit of your habits. Consider what’s working and what’s not.
For more ideas and techniques on self care check out my YouTube Channel
Whatever you give or receive I wish you a happy and healthy Christmas, Holiday and New Year.