I have noticed a shift within me the past couple of years when the weather gets cold and Santa and his reindeer's make their appearance in stores, songs and in my own home. My focus isn't on the presents and the shopping and the wrapping paper.
My focus has turned to giving and spending time with loved ones. Less important are the number of gifts that I give and receive but the time I spend with the people who are most important to me. The laughter we share while gathered together around the Christmas tree, the memories we create while opening the present from our Secret Santa.
While thousands of people are out in stores right now (and have been for hours), I'm snuggled in bed with my husband looking forward to a fun day together. No lines, no worries, no pushing and shoving. Just being together. Because the REAL meaning of Christmas and the holiday season doesn't involve saving money on a gift. It doesn't involve waiting in line in the cold AWAY from loved ones that gathered together for Thanksgiving.
I urge you to do something for someone else this Christmas that doesn't involve wrapping a present. Find a Wreaths Across America event. Give to a worthy charity. Encourage your family to skip the massive gift giving and set up an Elfster gift exchange, where you buy one person a present. We did this in my family last year and it was so much fun.
I love Christmas. I love the cold weather. I love snowmen and the decorations I put up in my house. I love the music. Oh the music, how I love it so. I love the parties and the joy. I love having an excuse to get together with my family and make memories. I love thinking outside of myself and remembering that this is a great time of year (as is the rest of the year) to make use of our time off to donate to worthy causes.
Think about what Christmas means. It doesn't have to be about stress and a dwindling bank account. It is about the memories that are made. Make wonderful memories this holiday season while being sane every day.