Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Spirit and the Gifts that Matter

A week or two ago I took the scientifically validated and highly accurate How Santa/Grinch Are You quiz. I was not surprised by the result - 25% Santa, 75% Grinch.

I think it's just that the things I do like about the holidays were not at all represented. The quiz was mainly about gifts and movies and decorations and THINGS. I love the holidays themselves, but the needless emphasis on STUFF in our OVERSTUFFED culture saddens me given that we are already living far beyond what our planet can safely provide.

Exhibit A: The "breakfast sandwich maker". I saw this in a sale paper yesterday. I mean, who wants or NEEDS that?!

What I like about the holidays is not the "things" but the general work/life slowdown. I like our quiet empty college town and the free parking. I love having the kids out of school for a few weeks. I like the disruption to the routines and sameness of life. I like the family togetherness and traditions we share. I like making cookies and doing jigsaw puzzles. And I'm not opposed to all things - I enjoy the small surprises and unexpected gifts, given and received, that are just because. 

I like that the holidays allow me to be a little extra playful - with "elf" runs and rides, and swimming in a fun Christmas swimsuit. These put me in the holiday spirit, and help me give the gift I really want to give. That gift is to show that the best treasures of life can't be bought, boxed up, or wrapped. The real gifts of life are things of experiences, challenges, playfulness, and love. The real gifts are in us, in others, and right outside our doors!

If you know where to find them (hint: not in a mall), gifts will flow 365 days of the year.


So get out of the malls, shut down the computer, and despite the busy-ness of the season, make time to get outside and feel the air, hear the sounds, and connect to what matters.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays to all.
May you be wrapped in peace and happiness.

....and do at least one silly thing.