Thursday, December 15, 2005

Food For Thought

So much discussion has been happening this year in my group of friends about the craziness of the holiday season and how tired we are all getting with the pressure. Pressure to cook, to clean, to shop, wrap, deliver. Pressure to write cards, to mail them, to decorate, attend a slew of parties and so on. It's a wonder that any of us survive the holidays!

I have often reminded people that the kindest thing you can do for yourself is to say no. When I say no to one thing, it allows me to say yes to something else. All of this insanity is actually a choice we are making. Don't like the stress of the holidays? Then choose something different. It's not that you have to say NO to everything! What about saying no to a couple of things you don't enjoy doing? For me, I said NO to writing Xmas cards this year. (Truth be told, I said NO to it last year too and no one died!) I keep in close contact with the people who really matter in my life so I don't feel guilty about letting this "must do" go.

A few years ago, I read something that gave me pause. It said "What would you do if this year you measured love with something other than gifts?" Imagine shifting that paradigm! That's pretty powerful!

A friend of mine was telling me the other day how stressed and out of control she was feeling about preparing for the holidays. Funnily enough I had been thinking about exchanging gifts with her only the day before, so on impulse, I said what I had been thinking. I told her that I would really like it if she NOT buy me a gift this year. I told her there really was nothing I desperately needed and I would much prefer to spend time with her instead. And guess what happened? I could hear the sigh of relief in her voice. She agreed that nurturing our friendship by spending time together was more meaningful to her than anything I could wrap. And you know what else? It felt really good to let her off the hook.

That's not to say that I don't appreciate gifts. I do. I really do. I just think that the sheer volume of what the retailers and advertisers are trying to tell us we NEED in order to have a meaningful holiday is just insane. It's a good time to take a quiet moment and to go within and think about what gifts your heart has to give. That is the true spirit of the season.

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