With Christmas comes calls for gift giving; hurried dashes to the mall that include, for many, going into credit card debt to fulfill the overwhelming pressure of needing to ensure Santa is a jolly generous fellow.
While the festive season’s meaning has widely been replaced with this need for excessive gift giving, it doesn’t have to be this way to show loved ones are cared for—and to feel good about yourself.
Typically, for me, Christmas was a time of travel—it was almost as if I was trying to escape something. I would plan family holidays to expensive destinations as if that would fill the void within… it was seen as a complicated and stressful time of year.
Most people look forward to Christmas festivities. I always looked forward to the time after Christmas when the pressure was away from socializing and pretending to be happy. I would ponder on all the things I didn’t get done and the dreams I didn’t pursue.
How I Turned Festive Unfulfillment into Gratitude
- I prefer to remember the moments during the year that made me smile, the beautiful people in my life and how in each moment I am creating and living my dream.
- Christmas celebrations are now at my home.
- Simplicity is my key word. I no longer feel the need to make Christmas complicated by trying to be everything to everyone. The biggest gift I can give is me being in the now with my family and enjoying every moment.
- Food, whilst plentiful and abundant, is also simply prepared and informally served. The energy of the day is relaxed, comfortable and easy.
What Gratitude Really Means
Gratitude is a central theme at Christmas, but it’s way more than me just handing out Christmas cards or buying presents.
What I Learned…
To embrace humility. Humility is the essential ingredient in gratitude. A humble heart has allowed me to find joy all around and needs nothing more.
To find gratitude in difficulty. It is easy to be grateful when things are going well. I have learned it is not happiness that makes me grateful; rather being grateful makes me happy. This gratefulness has lead to me being able to live a simplified life.
To intentionally choose it. It is never the result of an expensive trip or presents. I’ve learned it is an intentional choice based on acceptance of what is.
To focus on what I do have. I now look at fulfillment and joy in my life.
To be present with others. Presence and time shared is the greatest gift. I think about conversations, the memories, the laughter and the tears with special people in my life.
To find the joy in giving. The journey of gift giving is the gift to myself. It’s not about how expensive the present is. It’s matching the gift to the person and then wrapping it up. I look at all of these things as a gift to myself, simply because I find myself always richer after giving to others and seeing the joy on their face.
How I Cultivate Gratitude
- Commit myself to self care; a priority in order to feel calm and centred.
- Meditate or sit in stillness and clear my mind of clutter and chatter.
- Letting go of expectations.
- Shifting my mindset, changing the lens.