I have been staring at an empty sheet of paper, this year’s Christmas List. I am a list maker. I come from a long line of list-makers. It helps me stay organized and on track. It draws down wispy inclinations into concrete ideas. I feel creative and productive. My lists sometimes even embolden me to hit the mental “just do it” button.
And yet, my list is empty.
What do I want to buy for my family this year? Of course, my kids can always use a new pair of jeans and socks, but what do I think they will really enjoy? What is something more dazzling than the sensibility of new winter boots or an umbrella for the spring? What would encapsulate the shininess and excitement of the season?
Not new clutter.
Not new toys that hit the junk pile in a week.
Not the fleece hoodie I want, but they will hate.
I want to pick out presents that remind them of the joy they bring me with their laughter, the amazement I feel with their accomplishments, the appreciation for the light they bring to each day.
Nope, I won’t find that at Target, Old Navy or even on Amazon.
Here are the presents I would like to give to my kids this year—a twist on gifts for the holiday season:
- Imperfection. It’s okay to not get everything 100% correct, 100% of the time. It’s actually a good thing to be humble when we stumble. We learn more about ourselves looking at our gaffes and missteps than what we have “perfected” in our lives. It allows for more gray in our lives—less black and white, less rigidity. It is the dusting off we need when make a mistake. It allows us to course correct without shame or guilt. It gives permission to take a step back and look at the situation or experience with self-love and compassion. And a wonderful by-product, we can more easily send others love and compassion when they stumble.
- Care of self. I don’t want my kids to ever think or feel that time spent on nurturing or nourishing their physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual self is wasted time, being lazy or selfish. My hope is they recognize that their needs are important. There is so much care of self (i.e. love) to simply say, “I need time just for me”. We need time to quiet the monkey mind and sink back into our body. It grounds us. It keeps us centered. It keeps us balanced. It reenergizes and revitalizes us. Everyone’s self-care looks a little bit different; from how much they need and how they go about it. And that is okay!
- Wonder. I want my kids to have time to daydream, play games, fantasize about “when I’m an adult” or “what I would/could do if…”, get caught up in the adventure of a great book, giggle and feel good watching a beloved tv show or movie, explore nature, move to music or sing out a song, express themselves through creativity of painting, coloring, doodling, sewing, or baking, feel the excitement of learning a new fact or mastering a new skill, I want them to look up at the sky and feel the awe of just how expansive the Universe truly is. I want them to experience this world and all it has to offer them from a place of wonder. I never want them to lose the light and glimmer in their eyes…the wonder.
- Write Their Own Stories. The false, unrealistic, and hurtful “stories” of our childhood can end up staying with us as adults, creating anxiety, fear and depression. Stories such as, “I’m not good at math”, “I’m a loser”, “I can’t trust anyone”, “No one would want to be my friend”, “The world is unsafe”, “Bad things happen when…”. Before those false narratives can entangle their sense of self-worth and value, I want them to hear and solidify their own supportive narratives. “I am good”, “I am safe and protected”, “I deserve happiness”, “I can do it if I try”, “The world is full of opportunities for me”, “When I’m a good friend, I find good friends”. Some of their stories may not have been written yet, but I want them to not only recognize and treasure their beauty inside and out, but also recognize the beauty in others, in nature, in the world.
- A Toolbox. Or Medicine kit or basket. But it needs to be stocked with the good stuff. Like critical thinking, unconditional love, hope, wisdom, healthy boundaries, ability to hear/feel their intuition, understanding, courage, kindness, trustworthiness, justice, respect for self and others, generosity, integrity, curiosity, self-acceptance, determination, humor, gratitude, optimism, openness, and patience. I want them to have opportunities to practice with each tool. Learn which one needs to be pulled out of their toolbox and how to use it. And I want to love and trust myself, and them, enough to know when I need to take a step back and give them a try at handling it themselves.
Socks and jeans may be added to the list this year like previous years, but truly, the gifts from above are the gifts that I hope they receive. And I hope you receive them as well.
P.S. If it feels like you will be getting a giant lump of coal this year (ugh, 2020) instead of these amazing gifts…don’t worry, I got you covered. Because you deserve this as much as anyone else. I am offering two ways to connect with the spirit of the season and re-connect to your spirit. Both groups will be held on Zoom and will require pre-registration at Eventbrite.
December 12th 10-11:30am: 5 Simple Practices: Staying Balanced Through the Holidays $29
December 21st 6:30-8:00pm: Celebrating the Winter Solstice $21