“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…a partridge in a pear tree.”
Hmmmm---I know it’s a popular song, but let’s be honest, if somebody gave me this gift, I’d probably be asking if they kept the receipt because I don’t know about you, but a partridge in a pear tree isn’t on my wish list this year. Neither are two turtle doves, 3 French hens, or 4 calling birds. Anyone agree?
So what would I like for Christmas? What does any woman really want for Christmas?
Here’s a fun question: If you could give yourself any Christmas present this holiday season, what would it be?
As I started thinking about my answers, I found that they were all gifts that I hope all women will give to themselves this Christmas. Call it my Christmas Wish List for You. Although none of the gifts can be purchased online, in a catalog, or even at your local mall, each one will change your life and give you a happier holiday season and a much brighter New Year. So here we go with:
The Christmas gifts that I hope every woman gives herself this holiday season.
The Gift of Peace
What is peace?
The dictionary says that peace is “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.” The synonyms for peace include: calm, restfulness, peace and quiet, peacefulness, quietness.”
Let’s be honest: This is doesn’t even begin to resemble most women’s lives during the holiday season. Instead, most of the women I know are busy running here and there trying to do more things and go more places then they have time to do. For many women, instead of Christmas being the most wonderful time of year, it just becomes the busiest or most stressful time of year.
That’s why I hope that this year; you’ll choose to give yourself the gift of peace for Christmas. Instead of getting caught up in the frenzy of meeting society or people’s expectations, set a reasonable holiday schedule for yourself and your family.
Don’t stress yourself out trying to be everywhere and do everything. Instead, choose to participate in the activities and celebrations that are the most important and meaningful to you and your family. Make these things a priority on your agenda, and then let everything else fall by the wayside. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into obligation parties, gifts, or even church activities. Rather, choose to have a peaceful holiday free from over-scheduling and stress.
Quoting from a corny old song, I guess all I’m saying, is give peace a chance.
The Gift of Grace
What is the Gift of Grace?
Essentially, it’s the willingness to cut yourself some slack. Stop being so hard on yourself. Too often, we as women, expect ourselves to be superwoman. We can do it all---be the perfect wife, Mom, co-worker, Christian, church volunteer, hostess, housekeeper, etc… Then the holidays arrive and we kick our expectations into turbo-gear expecting ourselves to now magically turn into Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, and Mrs. Claus all rolled into one.
My wish for you this Christmas season is that you will sweep all those expectations out the door and give yourself the gift of grace. Instead of trying to be perfect, why not just try being yourself? Rather than torturing yourself and your family trying to do every Christmas project you’ve seen on Pinterest, why not just do the Christmas projects and traditions that you and your family enjoy?
Maybe you’ve got a great recipe for Christmas cookies, but can’t work a hot glue gun to save your life. Then focus on the cookies and buy your Christmas ornaments.
Perhaps you’re the life of the party, but not such a great hostess. Then don’t stress about throwing the parties, just ask what you can bring or ask if you can plan the games at someone else’s party. Do what you can do and don’t worry about the rest.
While you’re extending yourself some mercy and grace, why not just abandon that whole idea that Christmas has to be perfect, because you know, that’s impossible. Nothing is perfect---especially not Christmas.
Instead of trying to have the “perfect Christmas” why not set a more reasonable goal like having a fun Christmas, an enjoyable Christmas, or a memorable Christmas? Trust me, these goals are a lot easier to achieve and a lot more fun to create. So give yourself a break. Take a deep breath and say, “It’s going to be alright.” Then extend yourself a little grace this Christmas.
The Gift of Forgiveness
The third gift that I hope each woman will give herself this Christmas is the gift of forgiveness.
Were there some things in 2015 that you wish you would have done differently? Made some mistakes? Have some regrets?
Yeah, me, too. There are definitely some decisions I’ve made where I look back and think, “Girl, what were you thinking?” There were situations I wish would have turned out differently and circumstances I wish I would have handled better.
But here’s the thing: If you’ve honestly asked God to forgive you for the things you’ve done wrong, and you’ve done everything you can to change your attitudes and behavior, then there’s no reason to continue beating yourself over and over again. It’s time to forgive yourself and move on. As Anne of Green Gables says, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.” Look ahead and stop looking back. Give yourself the gift of forgiveness and move into 2016 without the baggage of regrets.
The Gift of Generosity
If you want to give yourself a really special gift this Christmas, give a gift to someone who isn’t on your list, isn’t expecting it, and is completely incapable of giving you something in return. If you want to give yourself an extra special gift, play Secret Santa and give the gift anonymously.
I know this doesn’t sound like a gift that you’re giving yourself, but trust me, it is. The joy and fulfillment that you will receive from this single experience will fill you with holiday spirit the whole season long. It’s unexplainable but true: there’s just something about giving that fills you with joy.
The Gift of Playing the “Mom Card”
If you’re like most of the Moms I know, you probably spend most of your life doing things for your kids, trying to make them happy, and doing the things that they want to do. Well, this Christmas, my gift to you is the suggestion that just once during the holiday season you play “The Mom Card”.
You know that special holiday tradition that you really enjoy but your kids always say, “Aw, Mom, do we have to?”
Well this year, I give you permission to play the Mom Card and say, “Yes, you have to. On this one day, our family is going to do something that Mom wants to do, and we’re all going to participate and enjoy it out of gratitude for all the things that Mom does for you throughout the year.”
Then do it. Even better, enjoy doing it! After all, this is your Christmas, too! You should get to have some fun!
So go ahead, plan a night to decorate the tree, bake the cookies, go caroling, or whatever else it is that YOU want to do. As they get into the activity, nine times out of ten, your family will end up enjoying it, too. So go ahead---give yourself the gift of playing, “The Mom Card”.
Give Yourself a “Get Out of Jail Free” Card
Okay, this could be even more fun than playing the Mom card. (Hahahaha) It’s pretty much the same idea, except in reverse.
You see, just like all of us have Christmas traditions that we love and look forward to every year, if we were honest, all of us also have Christmas traditions that we dread each year. This Christmas, why not give yourself the Christmas gift of a “Get Out of Jail Free Card” and decide to either eliminate that obligation from your “to do” list or if it really needs to be done, outsource it to another member of the family.
Don’t want to untangle the Christmas lights this year? Sounds like a great job for the kids or Dad.
Hate addressing all those Christmas cards? Maybe you could send an e-card this year. Better yet, put the kids on the computer and have them send an e-card.
Can’t stand another year of picking out a gift for your overly picky mother-in-law? Tell your husband to do it; after all, she’s his mother anyway.
Who says you have to do everything? Instead, this year, use your “get out of jail free card” to make your holiday merrier and brighter. Only beware: You only get one---maybe two in the most generous of families---so use it wisely.
The Gift of Joy
And by the gift of joy, I mean giving yourself the gift of really enjoying the holidays. Make a choice not to look at holiday preparations as a hassle. Rather look at the preparations as an opportunity to spend time with the people that you love making memories.
If you are going to make cookies with the kids, than turn off the television and the computer and make cookies. Get your hands dirty. Throw some flour on Dad’s head. Enjoy yourself.
Don’t say, “Oh man, I wish I didn’t have to decorate the tree.”
Enjoy decorating the tree. Make a night out of it. Even if you are single, you can invite some people over to help you decorate.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
This would include celebrating the holidays. So this Christmas, go ahead and give it a try. Go at the holidays with gusto, and whatever holiday activities you’re attending or participating in, choose to be fully there and completely enjoy it. After all, this is your life, why not live it to the fullest and enjoy it?
The Gift of Fun
I hope that at some point during the holiday season, every woman reading this will take a little time to give herself the gift of fun. Squeeze a block of time during this busy season to relax, enjoy, and have a little fun doing something that you want to do.
Go to see a play (a real play, not a bunch of 5 year olds dressed up like sheep trying to remember their lines), go out to dinner with your husband, walk though a mall (not on an errand) but just sip a hot caramel coffee and look at the decorations. I don’t know what you consider to be fun, but I encourage you to make a little time in your schedule to do it this Christmas.
Remember: fun doesn’t have to be big, expensive, or extravagant. It only takes a few hours of fun to brighten your mood, change your perspective, and reenergize you to accomplish the many things left on your Holiday List of Things to Do. So go ahead, cut loose, go for a walk in the snow, throw a few snowballs, hide out in a coffee shop for an hour and read a good book. Send the kids to church on Wednesday night and stay home in you pj’s and watch a Christmas movie with a cup of cocoa. Give yourself a gift and do something fun. After all, ‘tis the season to celebrate.
The Gift of Chocolate
While you’re being wild and crazy give yourself the gift of chocolate…or cheesecake, or ice cream, or some ridiculously fattening latte that you know you shouldn’t have. The point is that it’s the holidays---go ahead and treat yourself.
Now obviously I’m not encouraging you to gorge on unhealthy foods and eat uncontrollably. I’m just saying that every once in awhile a woman needs a special treat. This holiday season I hope you allow yourself to splurge and enjoy the decadence of whatever treat appeals to you the most. Most importantly, do it without feeling guilty remembering that this isn’t a lifestyle---it’s a Christmas present---then relax and enjoy.
The Gift of Laughter
Whether it’s Christmas or any other time of year, the best gift that any woman can ever give herself is learning how to laugh. Life is far too short to take everything seriously. Learning to laugh at life will relieve stress, revive your energy, and change your perspective.
The truth is you’re funny. You do absolutely ridiculous things and so does your family! Sitcom writers spend hours thinking up plots for funny things that just naturally happen to each of us on a daily basis. Too often we let embarrassment or insecurity keep us from just throwing up our hands and admitting, “This is a really funny situation and I might as well learn to laugh.”
So what do you think of my list of ideas to give yourself this season? Pretty cool idea, huh?
My last wish for you is that you do more than just read the list and think, “I wish I could.”
Instead, I hope that you actually take some of these gift ideas and indulge yourself. After you enjoy these gifts, feel free to share them with those around you. After all who wouldn’t like a little more peace, forgiveness, grace, fun, and laughter this holiday season? Sure beats a partridge in a pear tree! Merry Christmas Ladies!