It is about this week every year that I start being asked the question, “are you done Christmas shopping?” I must admit that I am guilty of asking that question as well. It is as if it overtook the question of “cold enough?” But when I hear the same question over and over again the spirit of the season starts to shrink in me. I must admit I feel like the Grinch. It is not about the shopping, it is about our families, our friends and our faith.
I do like to find the perfect gift for my family but for the allure of Christmas is different for my children compared to when I was a child. When I was a kid, we received clothing twice a year, back to school shopping and maybe a sweater or two at Christmas. Unwrapping a gift was special because we never received things other times of the year. It is doubtful that my boys are going to be excited to unwrap a sweater.
What if we don’t make it about getting all our shopping done. I know what I am buying my husband as he emailed me the item he wants. He usually wants nothing, so this is a refreshing change. Truth be told, we are very blessed and we don’t need anything. Want yes, we all want things. But our needs are taken care of.
So I need to bring it back to the reason we are celebrating. I need to bring it back to spending time with our friends and family. Here are a few ideas that I am going to focus on.
- Have coffee or lunch with friends. This time of year is not easy for everyone. I like having real conversations with my friends. I have things going on in my life that I need an ear to share it with. Want to sit down and have a good cry with someone, I am your girl!
- Do random acts of kindness. I often think of the person who is dropping the rare coins into the Salvation Army bucket. I bet that person feels great each time a coin is dropped. I am inspired by my friend who goes and gives manicures to her local retirement home. What a gift. I have an idea of what I want to do this year in the spirit of giving and I challenge each of you to do the same! If we all just did something little, it would turn into something miraculous!
- Have a cookie exchange with friends. It is a great way to get your holiday baking done. If all you do is make 8 dozen of one cookie, the cleanup is a breeze. Plus your family tries other new treats that you receive at the exchange!
- Have a white elephant gift exchange. I hear of more and more families doing this every year. When we did it we had to buy the gift from a thrift store or a gas station, it had to be handmade or we could re-gift something, but we couldn’t spend more than $5. Some families focus on a shape, like the gift needs to be in the form of a circle. Or the focus is on a letter, like S for their last name. The price is always under $10 as the focus is on the creativity, not the cost.
- Have a game night. We love playing games as a family. I like games that make me laugh. Nothing says family like spitting out your water because you are laughing so hard!
- Keep it simple. Instead of being worried about what I was making for Christmas dinner last year we went out for Chinese food. So easy to clean up my kitchen! That way I didn’t miss out on playing any games!
So focus on keeping it simple and remember that chances are we aren’t going to remember what was wrapped under the tree from year to year, but we will remember spending time together. So if you see me out shopping ask me a different question, like “what brings you joy this time of year?” You may be surprised by my answer!
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
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