Let’s be honest…this time of the year can be very stressful. Shopping, decorating, addressing greeting cards, hosting and attending parties, mailing gifts, studying for school finals, housing out of town family members and winding down your business for 2009 are all stressful activities. The fact that we’re expected to do them all simultaneously forces me into the fetal position, rocking and sucking my thumb!
How did things get so out of control? The intent of this time of year is to stop momentarily and step off the merry-go-round of life and focus on the people and things in your life that you’re thankful for. Actually letting people know how much you appreciate them, is the best gift you can give someone.
I admire people who have walked away from the commercial focus of this season doing away with the traditional gift orgies that leave most of us in debt this time of year. Many of these creative people I have met have chosen to have family “white elephant gift exchanges” where everyone brings a gag gift, tacky Christmas sweaters or an inexpensive theme gift where the focus is on just being together and having fun.
I recently attended a family holiday party where we “adopted” a family that had just gotten their first Habitat for Humanity home and we all brought a house warming gift for the single mom and her three sons. We all went around the room and said what we were thankful for, all 62 people, including children. Every single person mentioned their family and friends. When you really think about it…is there anything else that really matters more?
This year my family opted to give each other an “experience” instead of traditional gifts and we’re heading to Hawaii for Christmas! I think ten years from now my children will not remember what gifts they were hoping to open Christmas morning, but I’m betting they will remember everything about this amazing experience we’re giving them instead.
If you need a little reminding of the “reason for the season” here are a few ideas to consider;
Perfecting Connecting® Action Steps:
- Look for a volunteer opportunity in your community that you can do together with your family/friends. Sharing a giving experience together is a great way to reconnect.
- Introduce a new and creative idea that takes the focus off of the commercialism and puts it onto the importance of family and friend connections like adopting a needy family, white elephant gift exchange or taking a trip together with no gifts exchanged. Just being together is the gift.
- Pick up the phone, write a letter or send a card to 5 people you’re thankful for and let them know how much you appreciate them and how grateful you are to have them in your life.
I’m very thankful to all of you in my network and I look forward to our paths crossing in 2010.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!