I grumbled to my husband as I lamented how I hate to buy Christmas gifts. There are many love languages and gift giving is not mine. I try to do my best but often I miss the mark. I stick to a budget but often the budget is thrown out the window and then I begin to resent the whole gift giving process all over again.
And I pity the person who has to buy a gift for me. I joked to my husband that if he was going to buy me a gift this year I want the $70,000 car or the $3,000 purse. Nothing much. But the truth is I really don’t need or want anything. I even bought something that I wanted and gave it to my husband to give to me. I see no need for him to suffer.
But then I remembered that the holidays are not for gift giving and receiving. For me the holidays are about friends and family. For some it is based in tradition of religion. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. My adult kids still come home for the holidays and our time together is precious. I no longer take any of these holidays for granted. I look at each holiday we are together as a gift.
So my message is simple; focus on the people. Show up. Look for those hurting and spend time with them. I am someone who shows up. I have flown across country when a friend’s spouse died unexpectedly and I organized her home for the week. I have driven hundreds of miles to sit with a friend before a big surgery. I have driven hundreds of miles round trip to attend funerals and family reunions. I have called a friend and spent the day driving her to errands as she had limited sight and couldn’t drive.
Show up. Be that person who makes that call and drives and flies to be with friends. I am sure you are reading this and thinking what a nice person I am. But what you don’t realize is that the gift is really mine. I receive so much more from showing up than I ever realized. My heart fills up. My soul soars. I am like the Grinch whose heart grows and grows.
Make that phone call. Tell that person that you love them. Send the text message. Sometimes the simplest messages mean the most. I often get a message from my best friend reminding me that she believes in me. That is a gift.
Set the coffee or lunch date. Sit with a friend and be a good listener. This time of year people struggle for a variety of reasons. They could be going through a divorce and without their kids for the first time. Many miss family members who have died and their heart is still not mended. People who struggle with mental health issues find this time of year difficult. Be gentle with them.
Settle the quarrel. I heard a good piece of advice about a daughter that hadn’t talked to her mom in three years so her young children have no exposure to their grandmother. The advice was to not punish the kids for a fight they were not witness to. Kids don’t always understand why people are not talking. Look past the hurt and see if you can settle the quarrel.
For the week that my kids are all home I plan on spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking. My bank account will empty as we return to the grocery store multiple times but my heart will be full. My dishwasher will be run nonstop and the kitchen table will be filled with board games to be played.
This season focus on what you love and more often than not it is not the gifts but the memories made with the people who gather. This year my kids are giving me the gift of showing up and that is a gift that cannot be wrapped and put under a tree.
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa’s e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.