Welcome to December!

Leavenworth, WA

This is the month of celebration, family, decorations and busy-ness. No matter what you celebrate, or don’t, you can’t escape it, good or bad. So why not make it good? Yeah, there’s a whole lot of commercialism. Shopping and gift giving. Being in sales I shouldn’t put it down – I had my “Pink” Friday and Cyber Monday sales, and I advertise gifts that you can buy. But it doesn’t have to be about buying a bunch of stuff.

Years ago I decided not to participate in gift exchanges of any kind except to buy for children, beginning with my three oldest nieces. Part of it was a financial decision but honestly it was also based on being tired of buying and receiving gifts just because “that’s what you do.” I would much rather give and receive a special thought out gift than one that was bought because someone had me on their list or drew my name. So I stopped. I started enjoying the season for so much more than “shopping.” I went to see beautiful decorations and lights. I spent time with friends and family.

I have off and on broken my “rule” and purchased gifts for some people. Generally small things or something I make. In the past, places I have worked at have tried to have gift exchanges of some sort. One time I started to participate in one that seemed simple enough – stockings hung at everyone’s cubicle that you could put things in anonymously. I liked the idea because it’s what we do with my siblings and their families on Christmas day. The problem was that the stockings at work were hung up for the whole month and things were added daily, and they weren’t always so small. I became overwhelmed. The old feelings of not doing enough came back. I decided to withdraw from the activity. I think some people thought I was being “Scrooge-like” and we kind of joked about it, but when I feel pressure, even from myself, it’s no fun.

There’s so much more to do. Celebrate, visit friends and family, drive around and see Christmas lights, go to the malls or downtown to see the decorations. Nurseries are also great places to go during the holidays. Lots of decorations! Swanson’s in Seattle has reindeer, Santa’s sleigh, a camel and a donkey every year for the kids, and adults, to see. Here’s a link to events in the Seattle area. Watch holiday movies. Put together a holiday puzzle. Make cookies. If you enjoy buying gifts, go for it. If you don’t, make a decision for yourself whether you want to continue or not. Mostly, relax and enjoy the season.

Share what your holiday traditions and activities are. What do you look forward to at this time of year?

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