It's the Holiday season again and I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but the same thing seems to happen to me every year. From about mid-September all the way up to Christmas Eve, I have numerous conversations in my head. I tell myself that this year I'll be on top of it! This year I will be prepared and start early. This year I will not wait until the last minute. This year I will know exactly what I'm getting everyone and will get it and mail it early. THIS will be the year. So you can imagine what I'm doing to myself: creating stress, worry, anxiety, self-doubt, unreasonable expectations, oh my god the list goes on! And it's ME doing it! Well, me and the non-stop-commercial-overload-retail-push-gotta-get-this-year's-hot-"it"-item-----you know what I'm saying. Every year I remember the last year's failures and disappointments. I remember last year's mistakes and vow to learn from them. And every year I don't.
The thing is: I do love this season. I could care less if I got a present. I love the decorations, the smell of the tree. I love pulling out the ornaments from all those collected years past and finding a spot for them on the pretty lit up tree or around the house. I love the baking and the smell that lingers in the house. And after all these years, I still love watching the first snow. I grew up in Minnesota. Thanks to global warming, the winters just aren't what they used to be. Sure we still get paralyzing snowstorms, but how many of you see all that snow melt within the week?
Here's the reason I'm writing this. Right before we were set to go brave the mall and do some power shopping, I checked my bank balance. Well, you know what's coming. Let's just say the information left me a bit wilted. What you want to do and what you are able to do can take that fragile Holiday Spirit and crunch it underfoot like a bug.
Even though we decided as a family this year that the grown-ups don't really need another electronic gadget or sweater, we would just give present to the kids. Good idea and great for my wallet, but still tough. This year's economy wouldn't have affected my finances, but my job change did. I love my new job. I'm happy, even glad to go to work now. For mental and physical health reasons, that's huge. Unfortunately with happiness came a severe dip in pay. Balance, sure. But then here came Christmas.
There a movement that seems to be steamrolling through the country called the Advent Conspiracy. Read this article to check them out.
The religious aspect of this movement was not what caught me, but the idea they are advocating: that it's alright to spend less and give more in the spirit of the season. That is something I really need to hear right now, to repair that crunched spirit. Whether giving more just means spending more time with your family and the ones you love, that's the kind of spending I can always afford.