Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gettin' in the Christmas Spirit

I love the Christmas season. I love the music, the deals, the lights, the weather and bundling up, the peppermint lattes. I get very excited when Thanksgiving rolls around because that means I can officially start listening to Christmas music. **Confession time: I listened to the Nutcracker suite way back in October this year.** I know, I know, a horrible offense. I just couldn't help myself. The music of the Nutcracker ballet is some of my favorite of all time!

This year, though, I find myself becoming a little more like this green guy...

Yes, with his heart 3 sizes too small and all, I'm identifying a little more with the Grinch. Even as I admit this it pains me a little bit to say it. So I'll attempt to explain why I might classify myself as a Grinch.

First, the holiday season is so busy. Everyone has parties, functions, gifts to buy, things to gather up, plans to make, etc. At the beginning of December, I updated Google Calendar as I do every couple weeks, and I noticed something markedly different about December. Before the month even began, most days were already full. One of the reasons I love the Christmas season is because I enjoy taking it slow and just spending time with the people that are most important to me. If I'm rushing from event to event, I can't take time to stop and appreciate the people in my life. I can't say that I'll do much to fix the busy-ness this year as the calendar is already set for the most part, but I hope by reflecting on this now, I'll remember in future years to schedule time just for sitting.

Second, the constant, "I want" attitude is really bothering me this year moreso than normal. Most kids have a wish list a mile long and it grows every time they see another commercial. I don't want it sound like I'm anti-presents. I enjoy giving gifts and I'll admit, I enjoy receiving them. However, I think it's also important to take a step back sometimes and just be thankful for what I do have. That doesn't need to just be material possessions either. On Thanksgiving, as I sat around the table with my mom, brother, grandparents, and Jon, I couldn't help but feel incredibly grateful for where I am at this point in my life. I am surrounded by wonderful people whom I love and who love me, I have an absolutely fantastic job, I have great friends, and I'm healthy (if a little accident prone sometimes).

Even as I sit here lamenting how busy the season has become, I'm making my list and checking it twice. So how do I simplify Christmas for myself? I'm not entirely sure, but I do know there are a couple things I can do to remind myself why this season is important and why I love this season. One, take a night off. My nature is to want to help people and say yes to everything. I need to remind myself it's ok to take a night off, stay in, curl up with a good book and just enjoy life. Two, treasure the time I get to spend with my friends and family. Rather than think about it as just another function to attend, I should think of it as an opportunity to spend time with great people and treasure the time! Three, put extra thought into the gifts I give. Four, take advantage of opportunities to be generous.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to get back to enjoying this season and cherishing every minute of it! I think I feel my heart growing back to normal size :) just like the Grinch's!

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