It is the holiday season. Just a few, short weeks until Christmas. Truth be told, even though Christmas has traditionally been my favorite day of the year, it’s lost some of its glamor, fun and enjoyment over the past few years. It’s become a time of being rushed, and focusing on things, rather than people. After Christmas, I end up feeling a bit hollow and discouraged. I want to try something different this year. I want to welcome Christmas into my home in a slow and deliberate way, with touches of love and warmth. I want the focus of my holiday season to be less on the things, and more on the love and spirit behind the gifts. I want to teach my children that Advent isn’t the season of gimmes, rather it is the season of giving. My family is so lucky in so many ways, and I’d like to bring the focus on giving back and showing gratitude and love to all of the wonderful people in our lives.
I do love gifts, both giving and receiving. However, what I’m coming to realize, and really try to focus on, is that for me, the act of giving and receiving is less about the tangible item, but the love and intention behind the gift. In our day to day life, there are so many people that we need to be appreciative of– the UPS guy that hauls up the hill two huge boxes of Diapers each month (and yes, it’s always the same guy, bless his heart); the neighbor who walks around the block looking for your dog that decided to go for a walk… without you; a friend who gives you a huge box of baby clothes because you didn’t have enough warm things for the baby; a teacher who stays after school to help your son learn how to conjugate verbs in Spanish. I know that there are people like that in your life– the people who do little things that are so kind and special, and yet so ordinarily human that we often overlook them.
I’d like to share a few ideas that I got from a local trip to my Hallmark store to show appreciation for the people in my life who make all of my chaos and noise a little calmer and quieter. When I stopped by my local Hallmark store, I was so impressed by the number of cards that were able to communicate the messages that I wanted to say to all of the
ordinary, everyday, special people in my life. There’s a card for that UPS driver to say thank you for carrying those diapers up my hill each month. There’s a card for the youth minister at our church who is helping the Big One sort out his feelings about organized religion in a respectful and open way. (How do you say Merry Christmas to someone who helps guide your child like that?) They have cards for the Big One’s basketball coaches. I found perfect cards for the Monkey’s preschool teachers– those teachers who share with me all of the cute things that he does while he’s at school. Those teachers who love the children in their class like they are their own.
The right card can mean so much. It can communicate love and caring so clearly through the mail. However, I wanted to get something to go along with the cards that I purchased, so I picked up a number of medium-sized Crafters & Co. candies to complete the gifts. When I got home, I used candy canes and baker’s twine that I already had to create easy, but personal gifts.
If you decided that you’d like to attach a card to a box or tin of candy with baker’s twine, I would recommend that you wrap the card with the twine, followed by the candy and then finally the candy cane, else they slip around. I’ve set up our foyer to welcome family and friends to our house this season with a few easy decorations, and I have as the centerpiece a lantern with a flameless candle that I picked up with my cards. (The best part was that by purchasing 3 or more cards, I saved $10 on the lantern!) It’s a great place to set out the holiday gifts and cards for friends and relatives who stop by over the course of December. I’d like to add a few more embellishments, but between Angus, the dog, and the Little Monkey, I worry about damage and destruction.
Besides this is my year of embracing the less is more, except when it comes to love and appreciation. I have too much stuff, and I only need to showcase the things that make me smile and find the right Christmas spirt. Right now, my foyer decorations with the lantern and two mason jars does just that.
To go along with my focus on the things that matter at Christmas, I created a printable with the very famous quote from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. If you are interested in having your own copy you can download it here, or click on the image below.
Do you ever have to struggle with balancing the excesses of Christmas? How do you do that? I’m looking for ways to share the warmth and love of Christmas with the wonderful people in my life without excess, and I’d love to hear suggestions from others!
I’d like to share the love and send a little money your way to buy some lovely holiday gifts for those everyday heroes in your life. Please enter below to win $25 sent via Paypal to have a little extra spending money for gifts!
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