A Soft Touch for Christmas

A Soft Touch for Christmas

In the hustle and bustle for the preparations of the up-coming holiday season thoughts of gift giving fill our heads. Instead of sugar plums dancing in our dreams we are lying awake at night trying to figure out what to give to that “hard to buy for person.” All we really want is a simple Christmas season where we can spend time with family and loved ones. But the ritual of gift giving at this time of year can be overwhelming. Where is the balance between too much consumerism and offering meaningful gifts?

Please know that Christmas brings up emotional issues that can be hard to address during the holidays. For example, Christmas can trigger grief as we are reminded of those loved ones who are not with us during the holidays. It can also bring up feelings of inadequacy or pain about what we didn’t get in our own childhood. Sometimes we compensate for these unresolved issues and this can be a part of the driving force that causes us to over give.

I have many clients, mostly women, who dread the Christmas holidays because of the added pressure and work that it puts on them. They actually start processing about “Christmas” in October.

I would like to remind us, for our own sake . . . to do less, give less, and simplify. Surely if we do these things we could find joy and peace through the holidays. Interestingly enough I find it is the women, the mothers and wives, which keep up the insanity, and yet we end up complaining about it and being miserable.

Why do we do this?

We do have power to make the holidays be different and better. Getting creative with our gifts can make a difference. Gift passes to Thanksgiving point, the Zoo, the Aquarium or the movies can be meaningful and less burdensome all the way around. Giving money for a class or for gymnastics or a special baseball camp in the spring can be purposeful gifts.

I am personally working to conserve, time, energy and resources. This year we are taking a family vacation for 3 days in between Christmas and the New Year in hopes that carving out these 3 precious days together will help us celebrate the Spirit of Christmas in a rich and meaningful way. Instead of investing in stuff we are choosing to invest in quality time. The trip is the gift this year.

And then there is this other side of me that worries . . . My thought process goes to fear of disappointing someone. Because of that fear I am afraid I might be out gathering more gifts to put under the tree and end up spending money on the trip and the gifts. All this extra work because of some great need inside of me to see the splendid joy that comes on the faces of the people I love when they are opening gifts on Christmas Day.

And believe me I love those moments. We all do! That’s why we all work so hard, to carefully select gifts, wrap them and put them under the tree! Because we love seeing our loved ones happy! It makes us happy! So this year, I am going to do a little of both.

I have a few things prepared for Christmas day . . . I actually get so excited about giving gifts. But I can continue to remind myself that what we are doing with presents is enough and that over indulging our children and grandchildren is actually a disservice. Besides that it puts a heavier burden on the generation coming after us, to have to keep up with all this consumerism and the need to fill up our lives with stuff.

The funny thing is I am more concerned about the gift giving than my married children are. They have actually mentioned that they don’t want more toys and stuff. So weighing everything over in my mind I think I am ready to put a more soft touch on our Christmas this year. Less decorating and softening the excess giving, by finding contentment within myself. Knowing that success at Christmas is not necessarily over giving, it is finding the balance between a few gifts and investing in quality time and calling it enough.

May you find that place of balance within you as you approach the Christmas Season. It is my Christmas wish for all of us that we focus on what really matter the most . . . Christ and his “presence” in our lives.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!