Well I’m finally back. I wasn’t sure if I had food poisoning or a stomach bug, but nearly 5 days later I know it was the latter. And it really rattled me. I’d stay up long enough to get orders done then off to bed. I’m still a little foggy, a little dizzy and have lost nearly 8lbs, but overall I’m doing much, much better. I hate leaving this blog for so long, so thanks for understanding!
So there’s a local commercial playing in Colorado that I just love. It goes like this:
Do you want to slow down?
Do you need to unplug?
Let’s go for more peace and less noise
More substance and less stuff
It’s time for a revolution
A movement toward simplicity, balance and a life that you desire
Wellness is a choice, take charge of your life!
Ok, so maybe it’s from a local supermarket chain, but the message is still really valid. I love it because everyone always complains how hairy the holidays are I always remind people that it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to say “Yes!” to every invite, to every request and you don’t have to buy everyone gifts. The holidays have become so superficial and everyone has become so exasperated trying to keep up with the Jones’ and what everything thinks you should be doing.
So take your holiday back. Revel in the traditions that you enjoy and just be comfortable pushing back on the ones you don’t. Be the first to recommend “no gifts!” at your office or even in your family or find ways to reduce the “excess.” Enjoy the holidays for what they should be.
We have very little going on and sure it helps that we aren’t plugged in to office environments, don’t have very social lives, don’t have kids and don’t live in town (all by choice you see…). We never go to holiday parties save for a gathering here or there that we really want to be a part of (like my soulful group of bonafide girlfriends but even then, we just keep it to the 5 of us). And David will join in a potluck meal at work but that’s the extent of it. Any after work gatherings he politely declines.
And we don’t have presents to worry about because we don’t exchange them. Some might think that takes the fun out of it, but we like to surprise one another throughout the year and frankly, if we need something we discuss it together and purchase together. Our families decided years ago to not exchange gifts because it was all getting so out of hand (save for a little monetary gift we like to give to our 2 nieces). This alone takes hours out of driving all over the place and dealing with crowds because you fill like you have to. Not to mention how tight money is these days for everyone.
Even my small close-knit group of girlfriends decided a couple years back not to do any gifts for holidays or birthdays so long as we made time for each other. Because frankly, each others company is what we truly enjoy. And we almost always potluck it making it much easier on everyone’s wallets. And no lines, no nasty or rushed waitstaff, no shouting to hear one another. It’s just relaxing and fun kicking back at someone’s place. Spending time with them is worth a million candles and other pleasantries I might receive. And there is still random gift-giving throughout the year, but not on any socially-mandated holiday. I often gift art to them when they’re not expecting, one will bring me a bunch of natural body care swag that she gets as a buyer. Another will bring someone coffee from a place they visited. It’s all personal and totally unexpected. And it’s truly meaningful.
And you know what…people won’t hate you if you don’t send out holiday cards. People come to expect it, sure, but I’m willing to bet that the people you send a generic card to for the holidays would much rather hearing from you out of the blue, when no one else is sending a card. Trying to send out 50 cards at once is a chore and so much more meaningful when it’s done individually, throughout the year. I remember the year I stopped sending cards…I felt downright guilty. But you know what, I got over it and so did everyone else.
So get back to enjoying what the holidays mean to you, whether that be religious in nature, philanthropic in nature or even kitschy in nature (driving around looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas songs from the 50′s) and move away from the harried, commercialism that it has become.
And sure, I’d be hypocritical not to note that my shops are doing well this time of year because of the holidays. However, I’m actually quite happy to report that most of what I’m selling right now are supplies for DIY projects (like blank/Kraft gift tags, folded cards, etc.) and not crafted goods or art which tells me that people are starting to make more of their own stuff. I like that. And typically most of the goods that I’ve created always seem to sell better when it’s not a holiday which tells me that people are using them for themselves or to gift throughout the year. Just like my girlfriends do. And that makes me smile.
So I say, bring on the Burl Ives, light up the tree and snuggle up with a friend or loved one and celebrate relationships during the holidays and pass up on the hype.