Monday, December 15, 2014

Motivational Monday 15 - The Holiday Spirit

Image courtesy of Sabrina Bailey from The Red Room Photography.
Because it’s the season of giving, a lot of people are going to feel the pressure of spending a ton of money to bestow wonderful gifts on family members and friends. A lot of people’s credit card debt is going to sky rocket between now and December 25th (and possibly even January 1st). The knowledge that you have to find these wonderful gifts, paired with the knowledge that these wonderful gifts are going to cost a ton of money, is enough to make any person’s blood pressure rise.

We like to stress the importance that it’s the season of giving and not getting because, for some reason, people believe that focusing on the getting takes away from the Christmas season. Unfortunately, focusing on the giving can have the same effect. If you are so focused on the giving, you might find yourself worrying that you aren’t a good person if you can’t find these wonderful gifts for your family and friends, so you’ll be pressured into buying these gifts that you might not be able to afford, and the issue described in the above paragraph will commence.

I think it’s time that we stop stressing the giving part of Christmas. It’s not about the giving or the getting; it’s about celebrating the birth of Christ and spending time with loved ones. And if these loved ones are worth your love, they won’t care if you get them wonderful gifts or not. If we do things correctly, they’ll be happy just to spend time with you.

The holidays have always been a stressful time for my family. We’ve never had the money, but my parents still wanted to give my brother and me pretty much everything that was on our Christmas lists. This led to arguments. I’ll admit that I did want EVERYTHING on my lists when I was growing up, but now it’s not about the getting to me. It’s not even about the giving. I just like spending time with my loved ones; that’s what makes the holidays for me.

My family and I were watching Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the REAL one, not the live action one) and I was struck how the Whos all grasped the concept of Christmas. Although I’ve known the point of the story for years, I think it just sank in for me. Everything was taken from them. Not just their gifts, but their decorations and their food, too. But they still all got together at the end of the movie to sing songs. They didn’t let their situation define their Christmas; they knew it was about much more than stuff.

Image courtesy of Google images.
So, wonderful people, please don’t worry about giving this year. Don’t worry about getting every single person in your life a gift that they will love. Get your loved ones something meaningful and from the heart. And please make sure that you can afford everything that you’re purchasing; I’m sure your friends and family will understand if you can’t get them gifts. Do you really think they want you to go into debt because of them?

Can I take a second to suggest handmade gifts for your family and friends? Most people I know would love to receive a batch of homemade cookies. (If you aren’t a baker, though, I might suggest you try something different!) As for your kids, I would say it’s okay to get them some things that are on their wish lists, but how about you make sure that they REALLY want it and will use it for years to come before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on said thing?

I honestly can’t tell you everything I’ve ever gotten over the years, but I can tell you that every year I decorate the house with my family, bake cookies with my family (and eat most of them before Christmas), look at the Christmas lights, watch Christmas movies that I've seen so many times over the years, go see my dad’s family on Christmas Eve and my mom’s family on Christmas Day. 

Family photo with Santa at my dad's family's place.
Memories make the holidays. People make the holidays. Things don’t make the holidays.



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