Sunday, November 15, 2015

How finding my "holiday magic" lead to starting a new holiday tradition

In my house, we are gearing up for the holidays.  We had already decided to stuff stockings for each other, and only to give one gift per person.  Furthermore, we set dollar caps on the amount to be spent.  That being said, I feel that we have done a terrific job of taking care of our monetary selves, but to be honest, I feel as though we were neglecting our emotional selves.

As a little girl, I always looked forward to Christmas as a magical holiday.  I'm not even referring to the myth of Santa Claus, or even the sheer amount of gifts under the tree.  I am referring to an emotional well-being that I've always felt as a result of the time I've spent with people I love and the sharing of stories and traditions.

When I reflect on that time, I realize that the gifts that I looked forward to were largely based on time spent with people, and traditions.  The problem is that many our holiday traditions are intertwined with a culture of overindulgence.  In order to replicate the "magical" feeling I had as a child, I felt the need to be honest in pinpointing that which created it.  My fondest, most magical holiday memories are watching a holiday program (children's play, ballet, singing Christmas tree, bands, choirs, or a holiday movie...), baking something with my mother or grandmothers (frequently something Norwegian, as that is my cultural background), music, and staying up late, in my pajamas, watching a movie with my family.  There are very few times, when the memory involved a gift.  When that did occur, it was usually a give that was the kind you cannot buy in a store:  the blanket my grandmother crocheted when I was an infant that was given to me as a teen, the wedding ring that my late father had given my mother, etc.  Really, if I am honest with myself, it was never about the money.

We have discussed this at my house, and have decided to try out a new holiday tradition.  The one gift each of us will be getting is a box with new pajamas and our favorite movie snacks.  We are going to decide on a favorite holiday film (possibly more than one) to watch, pop popcorn, and sit with our beverages and snacks of choice, and enjoy some time together.  I am already feeling the anticipation of my new PJ's, and hope very much that sour patch kids make the box.  I'm voting for Home Alone, and possibly some cartoons from my childhood.  Prior to the holiday itself, I think I want to make some Norwegian edible, and go see something live (maybe the Rockettes).  Even with show tickets this should cost us $200 or less, and the idea of it provides me with more happiness than the idea of expensive gifts.

I know that this has been a slightly different kind of post because it is less about advice, and more of my personal story, but there is a reason for this.  I want to challenge you to consider the source of holiday magic for you.  When you get to the root of it, does the source of your holiday bliss need to set you back financially?  I've discovered that mine does not.  My goal right now is to achieve financial freedom.  I want the freedom to choose what I am going to do with each and every day of my life.  I do not want to do anything out of obligation, and that is worth so much more than becoming intoxicated by December, and experiencing "holiday hangover" in January.

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