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I'm Not a Grinch, I Swear

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Community Support
December 23, 2019
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Ahhh Christmas and the holiday season has arrived. Well, it's more than arrived, it's here! All around me everyone is in a hurry! Hustling and bustling to buy presents, get to parties, more presents, hang lights, put up trees and then some.For a couple of weeks now everyone around me has been talking about all of the things they are doing to prepare. Meals, presents, decorations, repeat. Meanwhile, I sip my coffee and smile, doing almost none of that. It almost makes me feel Grinch-like, but I know the truth!You see, I used to. I absolutely LOVE Christmas time. I used to decorate my home, put out my special dishes (yes, I have special Christmas dishes...), and spend lots of time, money and effort on the holiday season. I have lots of family members and I would make sure to purchase presents for as many of them as I could. Home, or away, everyone had to have presents! The more thoughtful (aka expensive it seemed like) the better!I would even hand-make gifts, just special for all of my close friends and family. Then, I finally noticed something. No one cared. Not really anyways. While yes, everyone would open the gifts and do the initial ooh or ahh, whatever I did would get quickly cast aside for the next wrapped gift. I would put in so much effort for a solid two seconds of enjoyment. Now, maybe it's because I naturally come from a fairly large family. Perhaps if I had a smaller family, the gifts would have a little more meaning, but it didn't really matter.So, not just at Christmas, I started to really take notice, even during birthdays. Then, I started to think internally about it. Do I remember every individual gift I ever got? Have I truly appreciated these ... things? The answer was an astounding no. I also do not remember every little thing that was ever made for me or given to me.What do I remember? The TIME spent with my loved ones. The joy I felt being surrounded by my family as we celebrated. What did I do? I stopped giving gifts and fussing over it. I, of course, also stopped expecting presents. And to be honest? NO ONE NOTICED. I would still pass out cards at times and occasionally I will give updated family pictures as a gift, but I have never heard a single complaint.Being an aunt to quite a few young children, I do tend to bring something for us all to make or play together instead. It might be a craft, story books or one year, we made a gingerbread house. It was so much fun! I have also found that I tend to stress much, much less over the holiday season and smile much, much more.Maybe you're one of those people that feels most fulfilled when you give things, that's great! This is just my personal view at this time. I should also mention that I will probably go back to gift giving once we have children of our own, but I have definitely been learning the art of simplification!Ultimately, there are alternate ways to show your love and affections. Invest your time into the people around you. Time is usually all anyone wants anyways. I know I have especially seen my single parent friends stressing out if they cannot provide an extravagant holiday season. Let's go back to making it less about the amount of presents and more about the amount of presence.Maya Angelou said it best when she said "People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel."Enjoy your holidays!

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