Happy Holidays to all the Pink Fortitude readers! I am grateful to be a part of this wonderful community and I wanted to wish you the most joyful season. This month instead of contributing a fitness related article, I wanted to help you get to know me a little better and let you in on one of my new favorite holiday traditions.
As I get older, I am learning more and more of what the holidays are truly all about. What makes the holidays special has changed over the years. This is something that has taken a long time for me to learn. When I was newly married, I spent so much time stressing during the month of December.
The “Perfect” Christmas
I stressed about having a perfectly decorated house. Christmas cards had to be mailed out the day after Thanksgiving. Cookies were Pinterest worthy, and the Christmas tree that looked like it belonged on a magazine cover. Fabulous gifts were wrapped in the most beautiful paper with fancy bows. I prided myself on being able to throw the “perfect” Christmas celebrations. While I was very good at pulling it off, it was exhausting and it started to make the holidays less special than they should be. Instead of looking forward to the holiday season, I started to dread it. I knew my heart was in the wrong place when this started to happen.
I decided to make some changes over the last few years. I wanted to be fully present in the holidays. Not rushed, stressed and grumpy about all that I had to do. I am raising my young son and I want him to grow up with fun holiday memories instead of ones focused on perfection.
The “Perfect” Tree
This year in particular, I allowed him to pick out our Christmas tree. It might be helpful to know that he is only 4 years old. He picked a really scrappy “Charlie Brown” tree and my husband was hoping to cut down something bigger and better. I pulled him aside and reminded him that it didn’t matter what the tree looked like. What matters is that we make our son feel special and allow him to pick out such an important part of our holiday season. I felt more joy allowing the scrappy tree to come home with us than I ever had when the “perfect” tree was loaded up on top of our vehicle.Even though it wouldn’t cut it for the cover of a magazine, I think it’s my favorite tree we have ever had.
As far as cookies go. Lets just say nothing a 4 year old decorates himself looks Pinterest worthy, but the memories of making them with him beat the heck out of perfection.
I also think that one of the biggest changes has to do with the way that I have been giving gifts this year. Instead of giving “things,” my heart is more interested in giving memories and experiences. I have been trying this out for birthday gifts and it is way more fun. For example, for my dad’s birthday this year we had front row seats to a Bruce Springsteen concert. For my mom, a girls weekend in Chicago. I tried it out once already for Christmas this year. I have two brothers and typically we exchange gifts. I made the suggestion to do a date night out to a restaurant they had never been to before instead of presents. We drove together into the city. No spouses just the three of us and we had so much fun. The memories from that evening will last way longer than any sweater they might have gotten me.
We gave each other the gift of our presence, not presents, and that feels better than anything you can put under your tree. While I cannot promise that every person on my list will be getting “experiences” from me, I can tell you that some will be and it is my hope that it is their favorite gift that they receive this year.
I encourage you to try doing the same. Pick memories and grace over perfection and stress. This season is about family, memories and togetherness. Not things. Embrace the true gift of the season, and see what kind of holiday it becomes. My hope is that it becomes a Merry one.
I look forward to welcoming 2017 with you all. Catch you in January. Happy Holidays!
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