Christmas, like everything else in 2020 will look a little or a lot different this year, depending upon your approach and it may leave you feeling a little less than “in the spirit” of the holiday this year. I certainly was feeling that same sense of holiday blues as I sat and stared at my endless list of things to be accomplished before Dec. 25: finish up last-minute shopping, wrap gifts, ship items since travel may not be possible this year, bake cookies, make candy, decorate the house, address Christmas cards (it’s never too late for that, even Dec 26 is acceptable – in my book anyway). An overwhelming feeling of sadness began to fall over me thinking of what was expected from the holiday season and I began to panic that I would never get everything done and my lack of time, energy, and focus would make for a disappointing Christmas for my family. But as I began to frantically find a way to squeeze all my “must do” items into a small time frame I also began to remove things from the list and quickly realized that it is not the beautifully wrapped gift with the perfect bow that matters, it is the heartfelt thought and love that went into selecting that perfect item for someone special. And like a little white twinkle light on the tree, I suddenly “saw the light”—the light of truth about the Christmas holiday. All those things I was stressing about, even the possibility of not spending the day with my loved ones, are not important; they are not the heart of the holiday. Do not misunderstand, YES family is so important during the holidays, but spending time with family can be accomplished in oh so many ways in our modern technologically advanced world and we should be thankful and take advantage of that opportunity as many don’t have a family to Zoom or Facetime with on Christmas morning as they open gifts.
That beautifully wrapped gift was nice, but it was not the wrapping or even the gift that was important. The gift could be placed in a plastic shopping bag with a nametag slapped on the front and it would still be perfect because of the time I spent thinking about the receiver of the gift, maybe even reliving some fond memories, remembering what they like and the effort that went into finding just the right gift– not the glittering gift wrap or the gift itself. Christmas about the spirit of giving and the love we share when we give to others. Do we want to be there on Christmas morning to open gifts with our family, YES! Can you still enjoy the experience, hear every word, see every facial expression, and experience the excitement as you Facetime or Zoom call—YES! The answer is yes, yes you can.
Spread some holiday magic by sharing what you can with those who are less fortunate than you, GIVE your time, what better way to celebrate the spirit of the season than giving to those who are not able to provide for themselves or their families. The last twelve months have been difficult and even if you don’t have the extra funds to donate, it doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the giving. Give your time to volunteer, you will be surprised by the upside you will enjoy for sharing your time and energy. Instead of spending hours meticulously wrapping gifts, why not purchase gift bags to save time and use those few extra hours you saved by not wrapping gifts to help fill food baskets or boxes, walk shelter dogs, or make cards for senior living residents who have no family to share the holidays with them.
The upside to recognizing and acting on the true spirit of the holidays (giving and sharing) is huge and will come back to you seven-fold in the form of a full heart, lifted spirits, and a renewed appreciation for the sheer ability to share Christmas morning via a video call. Peace, love, and joy to each of you during this season, and may you all find the truest meaning in the holiday spirit!