Here we are…heading into the end of the year (finally!?!) and launching into the gift giving season. I imagine, as with everything else this year, this holiday will look different. There may be less hustle and bustle as far as shopping in a mall or various stores. Not as much running around but more online perusal and purchasing. Regardless, of how it may play out, people will be looking for the perfect present for the loved ones on their lists.
If you are anything like me, you enjoy giving other people gifts. Some of my favorite people have birthdays right around the holidays. Which provides additional opportunities to shower them with love, through celebration and gifts. I pride myself on trying to give meaningful presents. I spend time thinking about what each person’s interests are or what is going on in their life that I can support. Two of my closest friends have birthdays within the same week and right before Thanksgiving. This year, I had so much fun (even with a mask on) going to several stores to piece together their gifts. I like contemplating what they would want or need, what would bring them joy. I love wrapping the item(s), writing out the card and getting it ready to give, again thinking about each person and the value of their friendship. But out of all of that, my favorite part is when I offer it to them, and watch their reaction, especially if I got it “right”. That brings me so much joy, it fills me up too.
I have another friend who loves to cook and bake. Each year as her children were growing up, for their birthdays she would make them a cake from scratch (maybe she still does?). She shares that she wouldn’t let anyone else in the kitchen so she could intentionally think about the person for whom she was baking. She wanted to be able to reflect on how much she loved them while putting in the flour, mixing in the eggs or vanilla. Stirring all the ingredients together with love in her heart while making their cake. Isn’t that a lovely gesture!?! (She also does that for her friends. It’s easy to see why her food tastes so delicious.)
In these blogs, I frequently talk about being intentional. I highlight the need to SLOW down, to be self-aware, and in tune with your own needs. Instead of operating on autopilot, I encourage you to take (or make) time to think about yourself for a change. What do you need right now in this moment?
Perhaps those close to you have been asking you for gift ideas, curious about what is on your wish list. Maybe you need a new sweater, new slippers, or jewelry (who can’t use those things). But also think about giving yourself the perfect present. Getting “present” and giving yourself love, care, time, attention, affirmation, and positivity. Unwrap peace, patience, and grace. Allow yourself to feel, whatever that may be, whether that is to cry or laugh, rest, or get active. What is it that you want and need? That is the gift that keeps on giving.
One year for Mother’s Day when my children were little, I asked for an overnight in a hotel room BY MYSELF. I needed some time away to catch up with myself, watch whatever I wanted to on TV without interruption. I took myself to dinner and ate my meal in peace without any refereeing. I slept soundly through the night and was able to connect with myself. I journaled and read a book. It was delightful. It actually prompted my commitment to self-care.
In my family we have an inside joke. Sometimes we may purchase a gift for ourselves during the holidays, something we see on sale that we think is too good of a deal to pass up. We will wrap it and put it under the tree with a label, “To: Me From: Me”. Those are gifts that are guaranteed to please, the ones you pick out for yourself. Perhaps you should try that this year. Is there something you really want? Maybe it’s something you purchase, a massage, a book, a hotel room. My best friend said to tell you “Don’t feel guilty about spending money on yourself. You work hard and deserve it!” Or possibly it is something that doesn’t have a physical price-tag but can be invaluable to your own self-care. Allowing you to refuel so you can be happy, healthy, and whole to meet the needs of those around you. Those are my favorite gifts, the ones that keep on giving! Happy Holidays!