Giving is the reason for the season, so why are you so tired out? The message of the holidays might be warmth, joy and giving, but the execution can feel like martyrdom. If you are giving away your sanity with the fruitcake, here are a few suggestions to put yourself on Santa’s list!
First, pick your intimate five
Who are you really giving to, anyway? Part of the reason that many of us want to hide from the holidays is too much social obligation. Studies show that most people can maintain intimate friendships with no more than five people. Everyone outside of that five is an acquaintance of varying levels of familiarity. Co-workers, the mailman, distant relatives can come from all sides and descend on your free time. Who gets a card? Who gets a present? Who gets invited to Christmas dinner?
First things first. Your intimate five should be at the top of your list. Spend time with the people you love and who love you. If you are buying gifts, buy for these people first. By prioritizing your obligations, you can see invitations for what they are – reminders that people care about you.
Next, why aren’t you getting yourself a present?
The person you spent the most time with all year, is you. You lift yourself up when you are feeling down and you comfort yourself when you’ve had a bad day. And hey, you’ve had some great times with you! So isn’t that worth a cashmere sweater? Or two? And a watch?
Yes. It is. You are worth whatever you want to get for yourself. Tell the salesperson you are buying something for the person you love the most. You want to find something they really want and will really like. Have them wrap it, too! When you get home, put it under the tree to unwrap later. You don’t have to wait for someone else to give you your perfect present. You can go out and get it for yourself.
Give yourself a “get-out-of-jail-free” card
The scarcest resource during the holidays is time. So, take some for yourself. Give yourself a get-out-of-jail-free card. You are allowed to bow out of anything you want. You are allowed to arrive at a party empty handed. You are allowed to mail your cards late. You are allowed to rest, relax and let others take care of themselves.
Now, pass it on!
Perhaps a friend needs to bow out of an obligation. Perhaps you brought a gift for someone who didn’t have one for you. It’s okay. You are completely taken care of. Assure your friend that you can catch up after the holidays. Hand over your gift without any expectations. Love in practice looks like kindness and tolerance for all.
So get yourself a present, relax and enjoy the holidays. Take care of yourself this holiday season. For we can only love others as we love ourselves.
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