Being a Loving Woman at Christmas

Image: Johan Hansson

Being a Loving Woman at Christmas can be hard. We’re so pulled to make this the season of joy and goodwill and candy canes and freshly baked shortbread, that the very thing we’re aiming for gets lost.

We want to be loving, and part of that is showing everyone how much we love them.

So we wear ourselves out, with the doing part. The shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, entertaining, planning, and the lists. Oh, the lists!

And then we’re cranky and out of sorts, or we get sick, and we’re constantly tired. Or we reach for the wine a little earlier than normal in the afternoon. And none of that goes over well when you’re meant to be infused with the Christmas spirit.

In our drive to be loving, we actually sabotage ourselves.

This year, I’ve planned a new way of being in the Christmas spirit. The loving I’m longing to show takes front seat. The rest will happen easily or not at all.

I said something to my eldest son the other day about gifts. And he said “I thought we agreed on no gifts this year, Mum!”

Of course, he had made a stipulation (and I think my brother-in-law had a hand in it) – but I had never agreed to it (but that’s not the point I’m getting to…)

Then he asked, “It is impossible for you to not do gifts, isn’t it, Mum?” Um. Yes.

Gift giving at Christmas for me is an expression of love. From the careful, sometimes painstaking, selection, to the deliciously beautiful wrapping and the bated breath as the parcel is received and opened… (I really do love to watch gifts being opened more than I like to open mine!) It is one of the ways I show my love and care and how much the recipient is in my thoughts.

But this year, in honour of the season and the financial realities of our times, I am changing the rules.

Out with expense as a demonstration of how much I love you. Because I don’t want you to feel you need to reciprocate in kind, or, worse, to feel guilty or like you’re obligated in any way. I do it out of love, but I know if I was in your shoes, I’d want to return the thought (and expense).

Which leads me to the next point. I don’t want or need a gift from you. Your thoughts, your love, your presence – these are enough. In fact, they are the world.

Out with trudging the shopping malls with millions of other stressed out, hot people.

In with ingenuity and thought.

Out with wrapping until 3am.

In with watching Christmas movies with my family all on the couch together.

Out with credit card debt and sore feet.

In with baking all morning in my new kitchen with my daughter and my son’s girlfriend.

Out with perfectionism.

In with ease.

What are you stopping, to make room to let the love in, this year?

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