Just a few nights ago, I watched a video outlining which each enneagram (personality) type does not want for Christmas based on answers from the content creator’s audience. Heartbreakingly enough for me, Bath and Body Works (a strong staple from me!) was listed across the board as a no-go. Every enneagram type specifically mentioned that they did not want Bath and Body Works for Christmas (what?!?!).
Well, since soothing body washes, festive lotions, and fragrant candles are some of my favorite Christmas go-tos, I felt more saddened by this news than I care to admit. That vlogger may as well have looked me straight in the face and said, “Heather, your aunt does not want any more apple coconut body spray!” So, to distract me from my sorrows, I went to Bath and Body Works’ annual body care sale to pick up some gifts and spoil myself a little! (I am a slow learner, apparently. ~smile~)
And let me tell you, the masses have not gotten the memo about Bath and Body Works being universally unwelcome under the Christmas tree (though I remain unconvinced). The store was hopping and there was no where I could go without being in someone’s way. It was a feeding frenzy for noses everywhere. You could tell everyone in that store was shopping for Christmas and ready to shimmy around strangers during cold and flu season to score deals on toiletries for their wives, daughters, sisters, grandmas, neighbors, coworkers, and best friends (… and maybe even for their boyfriends, dads, and husbands!).
Something about the season of giving makes us all a little crazy.
A few weeks ago, Eric and I were waiting to turn into Lowe’s when a car behind us started honking the instant the light turned green. Someone in his life needed tools, a new toilet seat, and some lumber for Christmas and he was not about to wait until the last minute to do his holiday shopping. As we inched our way through the light, Eric burst into an ironic chorus of It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. (Thank you for the laugh, Eric.)
Shopping and preparing for the Christmas holiday in 2021 looks a lot different than it sounds in our favorite Christmas carols. Have these songs always been idealistic, or was Christmas actually merry and bright? Maybe it is time to take some inspiration from the Christmas songs many of us grew up singing every December.
Our Loved Ones’ Christmas Lists…
What do our special people truly want for Christmas and why is figuring that out each year so tough? More than that, why do we feel so compelled to drive ourselves crazy shopping for our partners, families, and friends each year? Expectations? Reliving childhood Christmases? Fear of disappointing someone? There are so many deep-seated reasons as to why a significant portion of the population gets a little bit wild and overwhelmed this time of year.
Do you ever take a step back and simply remember what you loved about Christmases of yesteryear? Was it just the gifts? Or did you enjoy laughter coming from the kitchen table as loved ones gathered for a hearty meal? Do you have fond memories of playing games with your cousins, caroling, or dropping goodie bags off at nursing homes? What did you love about Christmas which did not involve Olympic medal-level shopping and wrapping?
If I had to venture a guess, I imagine your loved ones’ Christmas wish list might look a little like this…
- Time with you. Real time. Time where you are not running back and forth to the store or fretting over how clean the house is for company.
- Peace from you. Christmas is a special time with family but if half the season is spent panicking over details, the peace we so famously sing about at Christmas is replaced by anxiety (and those you love feel that anxiety). Your loved ones want to see you in peace.
- Happiness from you. If everyone in your life receives the perfect gift from you, but it comes at the expense of your joy and happiness, then some of the Christmas magic is lost. Your loved ones want to see you smile. They want to see you happy.
- Less stuff from you. As much as we want to offer up a tangible item to everyone we love, sometimes our people would rather have something experiential, or something easily used and discarded (hence my love of lotions and candles ~smile~). My mom literally asked for stamps this year. She is so tired of clutter! (Note: Before you give someone an experience as a gift, think it through. What do they enjoy and how do they like to be surprised? Are they fans of spur of the moment trips or do they need to be in control of event and travel details?)
- Memories with you. What was your favorite gift from last Christmas? What about three Christmases ago? Can you remember? I surely cannot. Purchased tangible stuff often fades from our minds, but memories endure and delight us for years – especially when memories are all we have remaining of someone we love.
Freedom from the Christmas craze starts with taking a step back and evaluating. What is important? What will my boyfriend or girlfriend remember about this season? What are my priorities? Who are my priorities? When December 26th rolls around, what will I be glad I did, and what will I wish I had ignored?
If you are in a relationship, we recommend beginning some of your own Christmas traditions. If you are planning to get married, consider what you want holidays to look like in your future home and start preparing now.
Decide to be Different…
Last week, the very day I posted about stress, I had one of the most stressful days of this year. I seriously felt like my world was falling around me, even though I knew there was no evidence of my fears. I had to pull up the post I had just published and re-read it as a reminder to myself! As I write this post, I wonder if I will have to pull it out for a little refresher the closer we get to December 25th. The Christmas hustle and bustle can be contagious if we are not on guard.
This Christmas let us decide the season is going to be different. Jot down a few issues which tend to trip you up during the holidays (e.g., a family gathering, a specific relative, anxiety over making someone happy, decorating to the point of exhaustion) and then make a game plan to overcome those issues.
In addition to your beloved traditions, offer your family, friends, and especially your significant other the gifts of time, peace, happiness, less stuff, and memories. And then notice what a difference it makes.
Keep breaking free!
Do you go a little crazy during the holidays?
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