I don't think many of our true loves are waiting with bated breath for a partridge in a pear tree from us this year. But there is one gift I know... a one size fits all gift... that would thrill almost everyone on your list and mine: the gift of yourself... your time... your energy... your cheer. Yes, I know, it would probably be far easier to give everyone two turtle doves and just be done with it.
I don't know about you but on many Christmas' past, I have found myself racing and running around trying to get everything done. Buy or make the perfect gift for everyone on my list. Be in a frenzy with cleaning the house (after all, MIL is coming). Make the perfect bird. Have the most beautiful tree. Be the perfect hostess. Pick the perfect wine. Set the perfect table. And on and on it goes... all in good cheer of course. Oh Martha, get real... PL..EEE...Z !!
The problem with the holiday season is that we try to do too many things at once. Obligations, promises, should dos, commitments and to do lists abound across the land.
Now I used to think that if I didn't go to that Christmas play or concert with family or friends, I'd surely be missed. If I didn't go to that open house, I'd never be forgiven for missing it and I'd not hear the end of it for at least six months. If I didn't go to the boss' boring and obligatory Christmas party, I'd be dinged on my next performance review for not being a team player.
And then, one day, it occurred to me... everyone else was likely as scatterbrained as I was at this time of the year. If I only went to those things I really wanted to go to or did those things that I really wanted to, I might actually enjoy the holiday season instead of feeling frantic that I'd be in everyone's "good books" or get everything done on time.
I wouldn't be missed. Everyone's focus was as scatterbrained as my own.
They would just sigh when I said no (in a nice way without fibbing) and call the next person on their list. And, as for the boss, well perhaps it was high time to look for another one!
By now, you're probably thinking I am going to tell you that I decided to OPT OUT of the holiday season. Nope. Didn't. Not even gonna contemplate it.
I love the holiday music... and I break into humming those old familiar tunes at the oddest moments.
I love the lights... it brightens those dark December nights and fills me with cheer.
I love the smells... nothing smells as deliciously tempting as Christmas cookies baking or the delectable whiff of an apple pie fresh from the oven.
I love the warmth... of hugs, kisses, "I love you's" and an egg nog by the fire.
Nope. Just decided I was gonna do it differently.
Oh, one more thing... Let's not forget all those gifts under the tree. The bright, pretty boxes with bows all aglow that just blew my budget and set me up for a miserable January. Do you know who is most happy and jumping with joy in January? I do. It's those folks at Visa and Mastercard. Like old King Cole, they sit in their counting house, counting up the interest on all the money they are owed.
No french hens, no doves, no lords a leapin' and definitely no turtle doves for this kid. I decided, right then and there: "From here on in, I'm going to give gifts that will last the whole year through. Gifts that money can't buy. Here are my 12 Gifts of Christmas...
In the first month of the new year, I'll give my true loves, the gift of my Undivided Attention;
In the second month, I'll give my true loves, the gift of my Love;
In the third month, I'll give my true loves, the gift of Simple Pleasures;
In the fourth month, I'll give my true loves, the gift of Tenderness;
In the fifth month, I'll give my true loves, the gift of Joy;
In the sixth month, I'll give my true loves, the gift of my Creative Energy;
In the seventh month, I'll give my true loves, the gift of my Enthusiasm;
In the eighth month, I'll give my true loves, the gift of Surprise;
In the ninth month, I'll give my true loves, the gift of Wonder;
In the tenth month, I'll give my true loves, the gift of Peaceful Surroundings;
In the eleventh month, I'll give my true loves, the gift of Fun;
In the twelfth month, I'll give my true loves, the gift of Thankfulness and Good Cheer.
As a matter of fact, why wait for Santa? Why wait until the new year? Me thinks I'll just start right now.
Have a wonderful week and remember to drop by just before Christmas Eve for a lovely surprise ... a holiday gift from me to you!
P.S. Thanks goes to Sarah Breathnach for the inspiration (and a few of her salient sentences, thoughts and words) for this article.