christmas tree

Stores are busy right now.  Maybe people aren’t buying as much as in past years but they’re buying nonetheless.  Everyone is in the spirit of giving, but deep down also looking forward to receiving.  The common denominator here is “things” and “stuff”.  Now, I’m all for making people happy and seeing the smile on their face when they open an exciting gift – that really brings me joy.  And, of course, I love receiving a gift from someone special, but life experience has taught me that this “stuff” cannot really bring what most of us want for Christmas.

Over the past twenty years or so our culture has been quite ego-based.  We always wanted something from other people or situations.  There was often a hidden agenda, always a sense of “not enough yet” or lack that needed to be filled.  Sometimes we used people and situations to get what we wanted and even when we succeeded, we were never satisfied for long.  The famous song, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is the song that describes this best.  Then the crisis hit.

People who felt secure and successful suddenly found themselves jobless.  The houses, cars, and/or businesses were gone.  It was the biggest shock many of us have felt in our lives.  However, something beautiful has come from this.  People have begun to realize that they can live with less and that they are actually happier with their more simple life.  People realized that they were putting too much pressure on themselves to get this or that or achieve this or that.

Parents have begun to become more creative with the activities they do with their families; instead of going on an expensive vacation, they are going on more hikes and picnics and spending more time in nature.  Family has become the centre of life again, not work.

Many people have started a new job or career in an area they always wanted to, but were too scared to try.  They are beginning to make money doing what they love instead of what they thought they “should” be doing.

From lemons did come lemonade.  It was time for these things to change and for us to start living according to what we value.

To delve into this more, I suggest writing down your top five values and once this is done, take an honest look at your life as it is now.  If an outsider were to look at your life would they be able to see what you truly value?

Now write down ways, and think outside the box here, that you could rearrange your life so that you knew with 100% of your being that your life reflected your values.  We often put road blocks up here, or our egoic fears start jumping in, but just move past them and think what the new year could look like and most importantly FEEL like.

Some ideas to consider are:

  1. Downsizing to one car
  2. Downsizing your home
  3. Providing your boss with a proposal showing how you could work one day from home (which would ensure that you eat both breakfast and dinner with your family)
  4. Waking up 1/2 an hour earlier to work out
  5. Plan a date night with your husband or wife once a month
  6. Ask for a job transfer so that you work closer to home
  7. Plan a one-on-one activity with each of your children every month
  8. Create a new family tradition.  For example: After dinner you turn on some classical or soft music and each reads a book for 30 mins OR one person reads aloud a  chapter from a novel for 30 minutes.
  9. Brainstorm a way you can be generous at least one time per month.  Example: Babysit for a friend on a Friday night or offer to shovel someone’s sidewalk one day.
  10. Regularly buy fresh flowers for your home

We’ve come a long way as a culture.  Things can only get better in our family lives and communities if we continue on this great wave of thinking and living.

So, this Christmas, spend thoughtfully, enjoy the holiday fully, and give yourself and your family the best gift yet – a less-stressed, more blissful life.  It’s what we truly want, isn’t it?

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