28 October 2014

{Happiness Project } Letting go of the Christmas Stress

{Over a month ago I began my Happiness Project; a process in which I form habits that aid me in becoming a better ME; physically, mentally, and emotionally. And with these new habits I hope to better appreciate the happiness that surrounds me. I plan to spend the next 12-18 months tackling projects, eating better, excising, going to therapy, organizing and doing a list of other projects/activities that will help me reach my goal in becoming a newer, better, happier me. You can find the introduction of my Happiness Project HERE. During this process I plan to document my journey via blogs, vlogs, and journals. I hope to share my experiences, new skills and knowledge with others while at the same time keeping a record for myself. Thank you for joining me in my Happiness Project!}

I know it is only October 28th, but the fast approaching holidays has had me slightly stressed out. I love the holidays, it is truly my favorite time of the year. Cool air, delicious foods, pies, the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin, the glow of Christmas lights, hot toddies & egg nog, and the the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from this time of year; it all makes me happy.

But the dreaded gift giving always dampers my mood a bit. What do I get? I don't have a ton of money, is this going to be enough? Where do I draw the line at who I buy gift for? What if I don't want to give gifts, will I hurt peoples feelings?

A few years ago Kev and I decided that Christmas would not be about gift giving for our kids (you can find that blog HERE). I want to set expectations low for them from the very beginning. I don't want my kids to expect that they will be showered with their own private mountain of gifts on Christmas morning. If I set this precedent early they will never know any different. And so far we have done good keeping to our word. We follow a simple riddle..."Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read and something to create." The kids receive gifts, their stockings are filled with goodies (healthy yet equally 'junky'), and they are happy (usually off playing with the boxes their toys came in). Plus they will also be receiving gifts from their uncle, aunts, grandmas and grandpas. My kids aren't deprived. They are loved, and they know it.

As for Kev and I, we don't exchange gifts. Our holiday gift exchanging fell away the minute our first child was born. There are more important things we could do with our money than buy jewelry and other items that would immediately depreciate the minute we swipe our card and leave the store. We love each other, we both feel it and the exchanging of a gift won't change that. And to be honest, I would much rather a night out with my spouse than have a gift under our tree on Christmas morning. We will always have stuff, I'd rather make a memory.

As for others I have decided that I will be putting a limit to the people I buy for. My one certainty is the children. Together, Kev and I have two nieces, and I plan to always buy a small gift for each niece and/or nephew. Kevin's family has an annual 'Secret Santa' gift exchange; one person, one gift, easy enough. That is a total of three external people, and that is where I draw my limit.

I love the holidays and I a refuse to allow the pressure of buying stuff to be something that stresses me out. I plan to spend less money on stuff and more time on making memories. We will bake cookies for others, go on winter adventures, donate our time/give back, visit Santa at multiple different malls and pick which one we like the best, watch the nutcracker, ride the Santa Express, eat way too much pie, watch 'A Christmas Story' on repeat, drink lots of rum, laugh and spend time with the ones we love. Because when we look back in years to come we won't remember the stuff we did/didn't receive; only the memories we had and the fun we had making them.

So if you are feeling the pressure of the holidays, don't. Agree to a 'Dirty Secret Santa Exchange' (way less stressful than the normal Secret Santa) among the family or no gifts at all. Lower your Christmas list and budget for the kids, and with the money that you save go have a family adventure! We only live once; and  living more humbly makes you appreciate more wholly.

1 comment:

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