Before I got home for the holidays, I was on the phone with my parents talking about Christmas presents. I asked, “So what would you guys like for Christmas?” My mom responded first in her typical fashion; asking for some small, inexpensive items, emphasizing that the most important thing to her was having the whole family together at home for Christmas and she didn’t need anything more than that. I then said, “And Dad, what about you?” He simply stated, “I want you, I want my wife to be healthy.” Although we were on the phone I knew he wasn’t talking to me, but instead was looking fondly at my mom while the words drifted out of his mouth.
What is the lesson today? Remind yourself of what is really important in your life and don’t get distracted by anything else. Especially during the holiday season it is very easy to get distracted by the non-sense. The never-ending lists that roll down to the floor, buying gifts for your 23rd cousin twice removed on your Dad’s side, getting more and more and more. How frequently do we stop and reminisce about all the things we have and how blessed we are?
I had an interesting discussion with my brother the other day when he picked me up from the airport where we talked about the idea of buying a house. He said something along the lines of, “You know, we are always told we have to get a house when we get older. A lot of the time it seems that it is because we have spent so much of our lives collecting things. It seems only logical that we will need to buy a house to be able to store of all the things we’ve acquired.” Isn’t that deep? That maybe we don’t get a house because we want it, but more because we never clean out the clutter/excess in our lives and feel that we have to? Why do we try to bring in so many more things rather than stop and appreciate the overwhelming abundance that exists in our day-to-day lives?
I talked about this a bit in my first post in the “Lessons from Cancer” series (shown below):
Now let’s take a moment and really reflect. What are the most important things in your life? Really step back, clear your mind, slow down for a minute, get out of the holiday hustle and bustle and focus on what things really matter in your life. Do all the presents, toys, gift cards, and stocking stuffers matter at all when you think of the things that are the most important? Or do you find yourself reflecting on the joy, love, and connection that the special people around you bring into your life.
Happiness does not come from these gifts that we place so much emphasis on, it comes from spreading joy and feeling loved. We don’t need big, expensive, lavished presents to share these feelings with the world.
This is what the holiday season is really about. I know far too many people who get stressed, angry, anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed by the holidays, thinking they need to buy gifts, travel to 18 different relatives house’s, and cook enough to feed an army. Flat out, this is not what matters. You don’t need to do any of those things. Life is about love, connection, and sharing the magic you have inside of you with the world.
Today, I’ll challenge you to reach out to your loved ones, tell them what really matters and express your gratitude for having them in your lives. Put down the spatula and wrapping paper and thank God for the beautiful adventure we are all on together and for the people who are coming along with you on the ride.
Just like my dad did, reach out to some of the most important people in your life (at the very least one), and let them know that they really are all you need for Christmas.
Mom and Dad, I love you and my family is all I need for Christmas.