Monday, December 2, 2013

Find the Meaning for your Season

How much is enough?

Every holiday season we are given the “opportunity” to buy gifts, or cards, or both for all those important people in our lives. I know, “opportunity” may seem like a stretch, but when I think about it, I really am grateful to be able to gift my love and thanks to all the important people in my life.

The problem is our “opportunity” to give becomes “pressure” to perform with all those BUY, BUY, BUY messages that inundate us at this time of year. I’m not naïve, I know what makes the economy turn and grow. I’m a small business owner after all. Our shopping and spending really does make a difference.

So maybe it’s a balance issue? I’m pretty sure something has to give for me. I get so stressed out this time of year - along with what has to be the vast majority of Americans. And I have to say, parents have the distinction of topping the max-stress list! The solution we often hear is to downsize gift giving. But I wonder if fewer gifts is really the answer to our holiday pressure problem.

It hit me recently when my husband forwarded me an email he normally would consider “spam.” Since Doug, in over thirty years of marriage, has effectively never sent me such an email, I clicked on it at once. I’m glad I did. His email made me realize that all my holiday to-do’s were not necessarily the issue, it was my attitude toward them.

The email included the slide show (YouTube link below) - I summarized it in this blog so you can skip the video....  It's a mix of breathtaking photos, appealing music, and a message so appropriately simple, I wondered how I didn’t just “know” the truth of it already.

“If you could fit the entire population of the world into a village consisting of 100 people, that village would consist of:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 Americans (North, Central and South)
8 Africans

6 would possess 59% of the wealth, and they would all come from the USA.
80 would live in poverty.
50 would suffer from hunger and malnutrition
1 would own a computer
1 (yes, only one) would have a university degree

If you currently have money in the bank, in your wallet and a few coins in your purse, you are one of 8 of the privileged few amongst the 100 people in the world.

If you have a full fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population.”

The message closes with “If someone sent you this message, you’re extremely lucky, because someone is thinking of you, and because you don’t comprise one of those 2 billion people who can’t read.”

It’s the rare “spam” email where its only agenda is to make you think. The presentation lays it out for us: we are lucky. So very lucky. Just reading this magazine means your day is a success (we work hard to make it a great read, but that’s not so much the point here!).

I want to hold on to my awareness of ALL I have as I start to shop and stress along with everyone else this season. I plan to buy gifts and will inevitably buy too many - like always. I’ll just be bringing a new perspective to the party. I have nothing to prove, the stuff doesn’t matter – my gifts will be my way to share the bounty, the luck, we enjoy in this country.

So join me in counting your blessings this holiday season? I’ll go first…I have a great family. Four wonderful, healthy children (and their children!). A husband I adore – who loves me right back (and takes me dancing quite often!). A successful business staffed with great folks. My list could go on and on.

As I was preparing to write my blog this month, I looked back over the December issues of years past to see what I had to say in my previous holiday blogs. And what do you know, two years ago I wrote about a wonderful trip my husband and I took with our youngest daughter and her then “boyfriend.” I’m smug in the knowledge that even then I thought this boyfriend might be “the one.” And he was/is! So to my list of things to be thankful for this holiday season, I add my future son-in-law who is a very outstanding young man.

It’s such a great feeling to be exhausted by the sheer number of reasons to be thankful! I wish you the same exhausting holiday experience!

‘Til 2014 - also known as the year of Brittany’s wedding in my circles….


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