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Monday, December 20, 2010

The Gift of Me

At the Double J Hacienda and Art Ranch over Thanksgiving weekend, I offered a holiday creative workshop. We had a cozy little group of wonderful women come together and took some time to stop and think about what we’d like this season to look like for ourselves. We began by quick-listing words and phrases from our pasts that brought up good memories of “Christmas” or “Holidays” for us: baking cookies, classic movies, looking at lights, etc… More often than not, our lists had nothing to do with shopping or gifts, rather our favorite memories revolved around shared experiences with friends and family.

We created mind-maps to expound upon the idea of intentionally creating a holiday season that would be fulfilling and joyful rather than stressful and filled with too many things that weren’t important to us or felt like obligations just to make someone else happy. From our mind-maps we created collaged postcards that I later mailed out as a fun reminder – a very personal Christmas card to ourselves. (That’s the front of mine above and the back below.)

What I realized was that I wanted to leave plenty of space and time this month to be with the people I hold dear and to share the gift of me with them – or rather, of my full attention and love.  I made myself a promise to cut back on multi-tasking and focus one thing at a time, especially when interacting with others. I also reminded myself that keeping enough time open for good self-care through meditation, exercise and journaling was a gift that I could give myself that would benefit me as well as my friends and family. You’ve heard the saying, “If momma ain’t happy – ain’t nobody happy – so true! And if I let self-care slide, I get pretty Grinchy pretty quickly. 

I’ll admit, it’s been a pretty jam-packed month, and there is still quite a bit left to do, but for the most part, I’ve enjoyed feeling in the flow of things rather than swamped, and that has been lovely. I'm so grateful for all of the special holiday memories I've experienced already: watching a young friend act in a wonderful production of "A Christmas Carol," seeing my daughter perform holiday numbers with her dance company at events around town, going with dear friends to see the musical "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," hosting our extended family Christmas party, playing Monopoly with my dad and daughter while my mom baked cookies and my husband played guitar – the good stuff you can't buy at the mall.  I feel sure that by taking the time to ask myself what I really wanted my holiday to look like, and spending some time with this awareness I've enjoyed this busy season much more than I would have otherwise.

What about you? There are a few days left before Christmas and over a week before the New Year.  There’s still time to create the experiences that you desire. Do you want to string popcorn and cranberries? Do you want to drink hot chocolate and watch “Charlie Brown’s Christmas?” Do you want to give yourself the gift of ten whole minutes just sitting in front of your Christmas tree enjoying the lights? Even the smallest of things can bring us an enormous amount of joy, especially when we allow ourselves to really be in the moment and immerse ourselves in it.

I wish you a Merry Little Christmas and the time and space to create at least a few wonderful holiday experiences that you’ll treasure now and always.

All the best from my Christmas oasis to yours,