I met my husband online. Oh, how we wish we had our online profiles now, but we deleted our accounts shortly after we met. One thing he had written in his that stands out is “I believe the only real things we can give one another are experiences.”
“Very true, Sexy Blue-Eyed Guy Online That I’m Going to Snatch Up and Marry,” I thought.
I mean, when I think back to Christmases Past I mostly remember waking my brothers up early, big Italian family dinners, riding home in my pj’s, driving around neighborhoods to look at the lights at night. I remember a couple of gifts I received, and a few that I gave that were well-received – like 6 years ago when I gave my husband the positive pregnancy test stick wrapped in a box.
Mostly, it’s the experiences, the feelings… the Love. So here are some things you might consider giving this year.
This doesn’t mean we are condoning any behavior, approving of everyone’s choices or minimizing our pain and the need to heal. Forgiveness is surrendering the role of Great Judge of the Universe and Its’ Inhabitants. We can hand that back over to Life Itself, in order to focus on and forward our own growth and healing… and subsequently that of our species.
This one is also (and in some cases only) a gift for ourselves. In Al-Anon I heard “Holding resentment is like taking a poison and waiting for the other person to die.” I gasped… and let it go.
Note: This is a gift we can even give to dead people.
Acceptance (Forgiveness’ close cousin, which ironically prevents the need for more forgiving.)
Imagine this: Everyone we know is being perfectly themselves at this moment. They are where they need to be for their own growth and learning. And it’s none of our business when, how or if they change. Imagine a holiday with no expectations of family members or friends to appreciate us, validate us, invite us, show up, calm down, or be anything… other than perfectly themselves.
And the gift for us in this one is clarity. We then can see how to take care of ourselves around those we know and love – which can mean to not be around them for long.
… Or handshakes, high fives, or other loving human contact like a foot rub, a back massage, a passionate kiss or a roll in the hay where it’s all about your partner. Hug like you mean it. Be the second one to let go.
Face-to-face, looking-them-in-the-eye, ears-open, smart-device-off attention. We don’t need to have any answers, advice or witty comebacks. Just be with someone. Breathe. Stay present. Little kids love this gift.
Yeah, you’re busy. Who isn’t? Or at least, who doesn’t say that? So, step 1: Stop saying that. Try the mantra “I have plenty of time.” Then give some of it away. There is always the soup kitchen where you can serve and there are sheltered dogs to walk. Perhaps there are also friends who could use a kid-free afternoon to get some shopping done or need an errand run for them while you’re out.
Our loved ones know how much we love them, right? Not necessarily. Say how much. Or “Thank you.” Or “You know what I admire about you?…” in a card, on a sticky note, in a text or, for the bold, in person. Last year I put a chalkboard up in our bedroom and wrote “Love Notes” on the top with a chalk marker. I regularly write a little something to my hubby on it. He has been known to leave me a note or 2 as well!
Happy Holidays. May they be blessed with Joyful experiences.