Friday, 22 November 2013

The holiday season and if I could talk to my younger self....

I remember all too well the feeling as a very young couple put on by ourselves to purchase Christmas gifts. Not just gifts but gifts that were over and beyond what we should have been spending. Then throw in gifts for everyone! I have no idea how we did it when I reflect back. I remember being very grateful that everyone had lots of food in their houses during the holiday season because traditionally in those first few years we didn't. Surprise the grocery money went to presents! There were a couple years where we went without purchasing real gifts for each other due to money spent buying for others. None of this was out of expectation from others, only the expectation we put on ourselves. My Dad bless his soul his favourite gift when I was younger was his Auto Trader and on the good years a bag of Quality Street tossed in too! 

As time progressed and as usual in society we were introduced to wonderful world of credit! Oh my! Nothing like paying for Christmas right up until the day of Christmas the following year. Then repeat! Thankfully the light bulb came on and the decision was made to cut back the purchasing list. If we didn't have the money to purchase it we weren't buying it. I thankfully can say I haven't charged a Christmas gift in.... Oh my! Here I go ageing myself.... I think it's been 20 years! I still remember that amazing feeling of knowing the holiday season was a success and the only thing I had to take forward was the memories versus receiving that glorious bill each month until it was finally if ever paid.

Seeing I have already aged myself let me put forth some more words of wisdom! My Dad as I mentioned earlier had his huge expectations of his $1 something Auto Trader. I honestly just thought he was being nice to me. Little did I know that he wasn't kidding! Reflecting back with that 20/20 vision I can now see how no friend or family member would or should want their family members to have any undue amount of stress to make it through the holiday season.  Those who are struggling also need to allow themselves to be comfortable with setting limits! Ego and that desire to hold up our image creates that unnecessary evil. I remember from experience the first year was the toughest. The young cousins looking for their gifts. Once that initial year was over and the stage had been set it got much easier. In recent years I have limited the "to purchase for the sake of purchasing". You know those extra 2-4 gifts that are wrapped just in "case" someone you forgot about shows up with a gift! I still find this one "super" tough- accepting a gift when not giving in return!   

As I head into this holiday season I will be reminding myself of the greatest gift that I can give and receive. "The Gift of Time" 

My kids have listened to me for years-
"Mom, what do you want for Christmas?"
 My response has always been "The Gift of Time!" 

My final words of wisdom heading into this holiday season- Take some pressure of yourself and for those around you! Be creative with your gifts! I know personally if your a friend of mine, the greatest gift is a coffee date or if you really want to splurge let's share a bottle of wine. Heck I will show up with mine and you show up with yours. 

Remove the pressure and expectations and enjoy the holiday season for what it should be "Time well spent with friends and family!"