There's a Christmas song my husband loves by Straight No Chaser that starts 'Christmas, Christmas time is here, and Christmas songs you love to hear thoughts of joy and hope and cheer, but mostly shopping, shopping, shopping'. It's a fun song, and they do a great job of portraying the busy-ness of the holiday season with their singing and comedic performance.
I love Christmas, and I love giving gifts, but the amount of time I spend stressing over whether everyone likes the gifts I have chosen and is feeling loved can be exhausting and draining by the end of the season.
Can you relate?
Do you often feel dread for the upcoming holiday season before it even gets here?
For the past few years, Andrew and I have been trying to be more intentional in our gift-giving and holiday plans. We both have larger families, so both of our families draw names among the siblings and their spouses. There are always people on your list who you will see at group gatherings that you often want to bring a gift for. But I often feel a little sad when Christmas comes around if we don't know much about the particular person that we are shopping for. With everyone on our lists, there is always someone we wish we knew better.
It's been on our hearts and in many conversations of late of how we can love beyond Christmas. Beyond just quickly scanning an Amazon list and buying the first thing that fits in the budget. I walk away from my computer or phone, having just scheduled the Amazon delivery, feeling like I've haven't really loved much at all. I'm not against lists, they are amazing and helpful, but I want to love beyond picking something from your list and marking your name off of mine.
So this year, let's love beyond Christmas.
This year, let's leave behind the hustle of the season for a more meaningful Christmas.
I'm not talking about adding more gifts or events into an already tight budget and busy season; I'm talking about trying to look deeper, past just the one time gift, into who they really are, who they mean to us and how we can show love to them beyond only one day. What better gift than a deepened relationship, someone who is praying for you and who truly wants to make your face light up and not just mark your name off a list.
I don't want the people on my Christmas list to become just a task to complete or a name to mark off.
So instead of being frustrated that I don't necessarily know so-and-so on our list that well, we have begun intentionally trying to reach out (often in small ways) and build a deeper relationship (we have so much technology at our fingertips and what a great way to use it than to deepen relationships!), find similarities in our likes and dislikes (anything that we can connect on) and seek out ways that we can pray for them. It's often during this time of relationship building that we come up with great gift ideas that really make them feel special.
Now, just as a disclaimer, we don't come up with our own gifts 100% of the time. There are instances and times when we do purchase gifts off an Amazon list, and that is perfectly ok (it's things that they would like). And part of getting to know their likes and dislikes can definitely come from an Amazon list or Pinterest board. However, when I am purchasing a gift directly from a gift list, I do try to choose something that speaks to our relationship or an experience that we have shared. It can be as simple as a shared like for the same jewelry designer, a shared interest in traveling or memory from the past.
I'm going to be honest and say that this process of gift-giving does take some extra effort. And on top of an already busy season, it can seem a bit overwhelming to add yet another thing. Intention does take time and effort, but it is so so worth it. I would honestly rather be super intentional with my gift-giving and holiday schedule, making a more significant impact on fewer people than to put the pressure on myself for events and gifts that I am not really feeling in my heart.
Let's love deep this Christmas.
Let's love beyond just one day, beyond just one gift.