Have you ever had a holiday season where you felt financially strapped and couldn’t celebrate the season “right?” You know what I mean, the one right way society tells you it should be. Such as how your family or friends do it or how they do it in the TV shows and movies. Or the hidden message we all pick up on…. “did you buy that one hot item for your children this year, and shame on you if you didn’t” mentality. With all the ads and pressure it is easy for anyone to get caught up in it and unless you practice personal power this time of year it can leave you feeling “weighed, measured and found wanting.” I think this energy starts for many of us as children with the Santa Clause threat. I say threat because what else is it when you tell a child they won’t get anything if they are not good? Just what is good anyway and why aren’t adults held accountable like this as well?
A few years back I had a major financial setback and was unable to even afford a tree much less gifts. I didn’t own an artificial tree because I loved the pine fragrance and charm of a real one. As you can imagine, I was feeling really depressed until I got a grip on myself and reevaluated how I was handling the holiday season. Who’s in charge of it anyway if not us for ourselves? Who said it had to be one way only? I worked though my feelings, and once I got over the guilt and depression I gave it considerable thought, did some research and realized that what I was really giving at the holidays was a priceless moment of love and companionship. I decided to get creative and make this a holiday from my heart instead of my pocketbook.
I made a tree shape out of last year’s lights which I strung from the ceiling overhang in our living room. I circled the bottom around our former tree skirt which made room to put gifts inside of the tree shaped circle. It was quite pretty. Then I thought about each of my children and what they loved most that only I could give them. I made a list of all the things that I did for them and I created what I called “gifts of personal intent.” These gifts were descriptions of favors they would like which I wrote down for them and wrapped in left over boxes and paper. The gifts were items like; doing the dishes for them for a week, cooking their favorite meal, driving them to school instead of taking the bus etc. These were personal-to-them items and they held great meaning. I created decorative “tickets” and when they wanted to redeem a personal intent gift they gave me the ticket. I told them ahead of time what this year would be like and encouraged them to come up with personal intent gifts as well. We celebrated the day with these gifts, a special meal, TV shows and board games. It made for a special fun holiday which lasted into the year since the gifts kept on giving till they were all redeemed.
Later when we had money again for bought gifts we still included personal intent items. As they got older they realized how much more time consuming a personal intent gift was vs. just buying an item in the store. This fact pointed to its true value, that the time we spend on another is priceless. I still include a personal intent item with my holiday gifts, sometimes with my adult children and other times with friends or strangers and I always will if for no other reason than to remind myself of what it is that I really want to receive and to give during the holiday season…love. The Beatles had it right in their song “Can’t Buy Me Love”
Tell me that you want the kind of things
That money just can’t buy
I don’t care too much for money
Money can’t buy me love
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this idea of “Gifts of Personal Intent” and if you too have felt the push to spend more than you really wanted during the Winter Holiday Season. Remember to love yourself no matter what you choose to do and keep a Personal Holiday Journal (see blog December 9, 2014) to log your feelings about your experiences this year; it will come in handy next year as you prepare to celebrate once again. Happy Holidays!
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©