“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”
Sing along with me, you know the song! Now that it’s December, I’m seriously ready to listen to nothing but Christmas music!
Can I be vulnerable with you for a moment? I’ve written and rewritten this blog post about four times.
Why? Because I love AND loathe this time of year. And I was worried that this article sounded too “negative” and that I wasn’t sharing enough “cheer”. Ugh, that inner critic voice.
I really do love this time of year. The lights! The shimmer! The trees! All the glitter! Family, friends, and co-workers wanting to spend time together celebrating the season. The traditions, both new and old. The memories and nostalgia. I love the hustle and bustle but when you’ve got all these things to do, and people to see it means more buying, spending, and shopping. Oh my gosh, all the shopping!
There is so much goodness about this season, but holy bananas it’s become such an over-commercialized mess. People complaining about a brand’s holiday coffee cups, people fighting over the last item on a shelf, all the commercials and flyers and sales. And don’t even get me started on the crowds. I love being surrounded by people, but something happens this time of year where other people get swept up into anxiety, frustration, and irritation at being overwhelmed, overbooked, and on a mission to find the “perfect” gift.
I’m just being real with you. I know that not everyone is feeling that way every single moment that they are out shopping, but ask yourself to think of a time during that holidays where you felt irritation at waiting in a long line, or frustration that a store is sold out of something you were looking for, or maybe you felt anxiety from having to shop last minute. That energy permeates. Under all the bright lights and shiny bows and cheerful greetings is a jumble of frantic energy.
And one thing that always happens during this season is that I get overloaded. Emotionally and mentally from this miasma. You would think that I’m all good from working so many holiday seasons in retail. But I get swept up in the glitz, the sparkle, the shiny-ness of wanting things. I want to buy things to give to other people. I want to donate to all of the causes. I am a marketer’s perfect target!
Then I start down the road of being incredibly hard on myself, worrying about what I’m spending, if who I’m shopping for will really like it and/or enjoy the thought I’ve put into their gift, and then the guilt. Oh boy, that guilt creeps in and takes no prisoners.
I really think that one of my sub love languages is gift giving/receiving. And you know what sucks? When you start to feel guilty about how you show people that they matter to you.
So I decided to do something different this holiday season to support myself and my self-care practice.
It’s called the 4 gift rule. Have you heard of it?
You only buy four things for the person you are shopping for:
- Something they want
- Something they need
- Something they will wear
- Something they will read
I found out about it from Facebook and even though it’s geared towards children, I love it and I’m all over it. I want to put meaning into the gifts that I spend, and I want to make sure that I am keeping to my budget and that I’m not overextending myself and I definitely don’t want to feel like my self-worth is based on how much I spend on someone.
A lot of the time we try to show others how much they matter to us by how much we spend on them, thanks to all the advertising! And this shitty thing is, we all have some crazy, twisted money stories, and when we attach our self-worth to the amount of money we spend or the number of presents under the tree, we get caught up in a spiral of shame and guilt.
But I don’t want this to happen this year.
This holiday season I’m going to be able to stay more present with all of the aspects that I love by not worrying about if I’m buying enough for those closest to me. I love that it’s only 4 things and that they have the ability to tell you exactly what they would like. I even sent my boyfriend a text asking him to send me his Christmas list with his desires listed under these four categories! It’s still meaningful, and as always I’m looking forward to that moment we exchange gifts!
Let me know if you are going to try this out this year, or if you have a different way of staying present and centered when it comes to holiday gift giving!