This time of year is my favorite time of year. I love the holidays. I love the beauty of Christmas decorations, I love spending time with family, I love all my holiday traditions. But the older I get, the more the magic and beauty of the holidays seems to fall away.
From all the adults I know, I get the sense that the holidays are a dreadful chore. People are constantly complaining; I have to do this and I have to do that, I have to go here, I have to make that and it goes on and on. No one has to do anything but we become slaves to tradition. That is precisely where the magic and beauty of the holidays starts to slip away – when we start to think of this time of year as something unpleasant we have to do instead of something amazing we get to do.
How can we change this dialogue surrounding the holidays? Many smart people I know have told me about a way to simplify gift giving. It goes like this; something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. It is self-explanatory what each category would consist of. This saying makes the gift giving process less stressful. It also lowers your chances of buying things people will never wear or use.
This is a foreign concept to us Americans; limiting what we buy because we tend to buy too much. We buy too much, regret it, and then swear we will not do it again next year. But then next year comes around and we do it again anyway. This is where boundaries comes in.
We have to set boundaries. We do not have to do the same thing every year. We do not have to buy the same amount of gifts every year. The most important part of the holidays, for me, is taking care of myself so when I am participating in my holiday activities I can be fully present. A good way to take care of yourself during the holidays, and always, is by keeping distance between you and things that negatively affect you. Whatever affects you negatively, give it space. Whatever boundaries you need to set to take care of yourself, set them.
The holidays are not about gift giving. The holidays are about spending time with family, spreading love and joy, and making the most of the time spent with people you love. This time leading up to the holidays should be used to set boundaries and take care of ourselves in order to make the holidays a more enjoyable time for not only us, but the people around us as well.