I did not send out holiday cards this year. Sometimes juggling all of the "shoulds" gets a bit too much. I am trying to detach myself from thinking of it in a bad way. In fact, I think to be relaxed about it is a good thing for a change. Are those distant relatives really going to fall apart if I don't send them a greeting card this year? I am not that arrogant to think that.
I have not quite let all my holiday responsibilities fall to the wayside. I have been doing a pretty hefty load of holiday shopping these past few days, but not as frantic a pace as I've done in the past. What has changed?. I think what has changed is the way I look at gifts and my role as a gift-giver in general. I no longer feel the need to be the one gift-giver that gives out the 'best' or the 2010 year 'hit' gift. I now see gifts as tokens. I give 'tokens' now. Just a gesture of my appreciation, a 'hint' of my love and affection. It does not need to be THE gift that changes your life. I just love this new way of looking at gifts. It's taken a huge load off my back. I no longer NEED to find that life-changing, life-saving gift.
Today my hubby and the kids went shopping for gifts at the bookstore. My hubby and I felt it was a perfect place to get our kids to pick one small gift for each other (yes, a 'token'); a tradition I would like to instill in the kids, especially my son, seeing as most every man I know does not do his own holiday shopping. My husband breaks away from us and I notice him struggling to choose a gift for me. In the past years I would have interpreted his difficulty in choosing my gifts into a 'he-does-not-love-me-enough' issue and built all sorts of drama around the gift. But I genuinely felt his struggle and knew this should not be a test of his love or my worth. I decided to help him out by giving him titles to books I would enjoy, he was so relieved and I felt great.
So all this letting go of many of the 'shoulds' has allowed me to really enjoy the holidays this time around. I've been awakened to what the holidays can be really about. I don't need to send holiday cards every year, I don't need to buy an expensive gift to show love, I don't need to get a gift at all to know I am loved. More expensive does not translate to more love. Not sending that holiday card to a cousin I have not seen in years does not mean I am uncaring or lazy. Now, thanks to all my 'letting go' I have given myself various amazing gifts, the gift of time and peace and no drama. Time to chat with family, to read, to play with the kids, to eat, to go for a walk, and most importantly, time to really be present in every family moment.
Have a great holiday and take some time for yourself and stop running around like a chicken with your head cut off.