December is such an interesting month, isn’t it? The moment Dec. 1 hits the anxiety of getting ready for Christmas starts! And the thought of having to get presents purchased and a tree up and decorations up and dinners planned can be a lot, or even overwhelming! And expensive!
I saw this quote from actor/comedian Jim Carrey last week that made me stop and think. “No holiday should manipulate you to the point where you’re going into debt just to show someone you love them.” That is a powerful statement that begs some thought from all of us.
When a collective mindset around a holiday becomes part of our shared culture, it is entrenched. It is part of what we do and who we are. And further, it’s incredibly difficult to change without intentional thought and practices.
December is the month for giving. Yet giving doesn’t have to mean stuff — stuff that is often forgotten about by the next day. Giving can mean your time. Your thoughtfulness. A dinner. Sharing experiences together. A caring handwritten note about what you appreciate most in the person.
If we could see that when we end up calculating a dollar amount we intend to spend on someone to show them how much we care, we have lost the commercial battle (and spirit!) for Christmas and the holidays. We have lost perspective. We have simply lost.
Modern research continues to show us that the two most important (by far!) contributors to our overall happiness and contentment are 1. quality/loving relationships with those closest to us, and 2. practising gratitude often. This is what December could focus on. Perhaps what it was initially meant to focus on. December could be the month of nurturing important relationships, gratitude, and perspective. A time to step back from the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day grind and appreciate people and shared moments more. Not the opposite.
Family Christmases together in a warm home, with food cooking, and hot drinks, and special snacks, too much food, sweet treats, and time spent with nothing to do is where the magic is found. When you truly don’t have to check your phone, or email an important document, or get to a meeting, or go grocery shopping and drive kids to activities, or whatever. Downtime together among those most important to us — that’s the beauty. Rather than one day a year when we stop and make time only for family being together, why not make it an entire week? Or month? Or, really, a new mindset entirely? To focus on each week throughout the year. Calculate how much you care about someone not with your dollars spent, but time.
This is something we can do better to create more meaningful Decembers. Happy Holidays.