Around the holidays, I always have big ideas and high expectations.
I want meaningful gifts for everyone, positive traditions for my kids that don’t revolve around toys, to send out the perfect holiday card, and create a blissful, calm atmosphere at home.
I’m sure you can imagine, things never turn out exactly how I hope.
Does this sound familiar?
But, I do my best and try to remember it is the thought and the love that goes into giving that counts. Right?! Like our quote of the week says, “Love the giver, more than the gift.”
In years past though, I would be very hard on myself for many things during the holiday season….
For spending too much time on homemade gifts that didn’t turn out very well and feeling like a failure.
For buying too many toys for our kids and not enough for those in need and feeling like I was not sending the right message.
For waiting until the last-minute on gifts, food, cards, etc. and feeling stressed and inadequate.
For saying yes to too many things and feeling overwhelmed or saying no and feeling guilty.
For forgetting to move the elves (again) and thinking, “Why did I add this to my to-do list?!”
For feeling fat and blah for eating and drinking too much and not exercising or sleeping enough.
For missing my mom, but not even realizing it and instead just feeling like a Scrooge.
You get it, the list can go on. Can you relate to any of these?
One of beautiful things about life is that you can evolve as the years go on. You can get to know yourself. You can listen to your inner positive voice and turn off the negative chatter. You can figure out what inspires you and do it. You can focus on the things that matter and let go of the rest.
You can treat yourself with self-compassion and love.
When those things happen, it makes the holidays and all the imperfections that go along with it much easier.
I still said yes to too many things, didn’t get enough sleep, waited until the last-minute for gifts, spent too much time on unorganized shopping and homemade gift plans, bought my kids too many things and didn’t establish the 25 Days of Kindness like I hoped, but I was much kinder to myself this year. I also know I have room to improve next year!
In the midst of that self-kindness I decided to let go on this year’s homemade gift idea. I was running out of time and when it came down to it, it really wasn’t necessary at all.
But, the stars aligned (thanks to a good friend and neighbors) and very last-minute I was able to get my ingredients and pull it all together. I am grateful because it reminded me, not only how much I love giving homemade gifts, but how inspiring the entire process is for me. I remembered the passion and creativity that is sparked with these DIY projects that I tend to be drawn to over and over.
Like the year I made snowman popcorn cups & fruit kabobs for my 2nd graders holiday class party. I still can picture the disaster my house was when I left for the party minutes before it started. But, I loved it.
I’m not exactly sure how my recipients felt when I made homemade sugar scrub, but I felt proud and accomplished.
The year I made homemade granola was kind-of-a bust. It was actually the first time I had made granola ever and I gave away a burnt batch not realizing it. Oops. Homemade granola is a great gift though!
I get really excited over my favorite gift of chalkboard potted plants & herbs. I love the idea of bringing plants or herbs into someone’s home. The chalkboard pot can be personalized and changed, so I love it for holidays, teacher gifts or just to cheer someone up.
I’m not sure how everyone else feels about these gifts, but I love giving them! However, when you view yourself as a non-creative person, these projects can get pushed off the list.
Thanks to this year’s gift of Homemade Potpourri and a lot of self-love and compassion, I was reminded that we constantly are evolving. I may not have thought of myself as a creative person in the past, but I am. In fact, we are all creative beings. Because creativity doesn’t have to equal perfection, or even good for that matter!
Creativity is good for the soul. It’s really about the process more than the end result anyway.
As Brene Brown says, “Unused creativity isn’t benign, it lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.”
So, my holiday wish for you is to…
Unleash your creative side.
Make time for the things that inspire you.
Let go of the things that drain you.
Listen to your intuition and inner positive voice.
Ignore the negative chatter.
Say no without guilt.
Treat yourself with love and compassion.
I hope you can try out this homemade stove top potpourri recipe. It’s simple, non-toxic, and smells delicious! It’s perfect for the holidays or really anytime of year.
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 orange (sliced)
3-4 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Bring 3 cups water and ingredients to a simmer over low heat, uncovered, in a small pot or crock pot. Check water periodically and add more if it starts to get low.
Enjoy a delicious aroma in your home!
P.S. You can read more on nurturing your self-compassion during the holidays in a guest post I wrote a few weeks ago on Happy Healthy Kids!