I was torn about writing this post. As this blog would suggest, I love shopping and gift-giving but I need to elaborate about what that actually means. I see shopping as an activity, a spectator sport of sorts. I can spend a day “shopping” and not buy a single thing. I am passionate about gift-giving because of how great it feels when you show a recipient that you know who they are and what is important to them, but I also believe you can give things like your time and attention or your talents and skills. Generosity, creativity and thought when put altogether can be incredibly powerful.
I started this Black Friday doing what I normally do, tweeting Black Friday sales from my @Gift_Whisperer account and checking out what other bloggers and retailers were doing. Then I saw something horribly disturbing. But I’ll get to that…
I’m a creature of habit, I find something I love and I stick with it. That said, certain occasions scream (measured) experimentation and for me, New Years Eve is one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not conservative with my look (at least I don’t think I am), but I’m a look-loyalist–I think I just made that up. Here are some of the things I’m thinking about trying this New Years Eve that are either new or a different flavor of something that is already tried-and-true.
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It’s just a few more days before Christmas and I’ve got most of my shopping done, my cards are sent (we went digital this year), but I do have a few odds and ends to pick up still. Even though its kind of the last minute, that’s no reason to run to the nearest drugstore and get a Whitman’s sampler. I’ve come across some awesome ideas you should totally consider if you have anyone left on your list.
Despair Or Hope Directions courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Whatever emotional riptide I am going through, the holiday season always seems to amplify it–if I’m happy and grateful I feel 100x more so and if I’m sad and lonely the same is true.
The most difficult holiday season I ever experienced was also the one that helped me realize how strong I was. It was my first Christmas as a single mom. My ex-husband and I had separated in May and we had done Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinner together at my mother’s house (like always) for the kids, but Christmas Eve where wrapping and assembling toys to go under the tree was now my responsibility alone and I had under estimated this task–not so much the wrapping, I loved that, but the assembling. I had a 3.5 year-old-boy and a 6 year-old-girl and when they get a present on Christmas from Santa, it’s not just a box in pretty paper. It’s put together so they can play with it right away. And Santa went to town this year. He got a pirate ship and an easel and some Barbie contraption–all “Assembly Required.” And while this probably isn’t an issue for an elf at the North Pole, as a newly single mom who just got fed another dose of reality at 11pm alone in my living room on Christmas Eve, it felt like my Everest. (more…)
Female Santa Claus Presenting In Business Meeting courtesy of franky242 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Celebrating the holiday season in a professional environment can get complicated. Not everyone does it the same way and nor do they all have the same financial circumstances. Sometimes in these situations the natural instinct is to procrastinate, further limiting the options, so what is ultimately available is either unappealing or cost prohibitive. Here’s some good news–with a bit of creativity, it’s still possible to get your festive hat on with colleagues in the spirit of inclusiveness. Also, the term “Holiday” can be interchangeable with “Winter” or “New Year” if you’d like to make it a bit more generic. (more…)
Old Typewriter courtesy of thaikrit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Yesterday I was Christmas shopping, my daughter joined me later in the day. I had a list of people to buy for–her and her brother among them–so I had to be careful about my packages and such. At the end of our excursion we got into a cab and as we were driving she looked at me and said: “Mom, can you still sign our packages ‘From Santa‘?” You see, as of last year, there aren’t any “believers” in our house anymore. Of course I said sure, but I was reminded of something from long ago.
Red Gift Box by courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As the mother of two children, every year I encounter the same question from family and friends: “what do the kids want this year?” Of course my kids make lists. Professionally, in a former life, I even worked on a holiday gift list solution for moms because from the moment I gave birth, this has always been a conundrum–what is the right answer and how do you coordinate who is getting and giving what? Unfortunately the service I mentioned is no longer available, but these are some websites and apps you should check out if you’re looking to make list sharing with family and friends painless and simple this season…and beyond.
I am always a mess when it comes to my holiday cards, just check last year’s post about it. December always seems to sneak up on me and I forget to create and order cards and then I do some rush job which invariably has a typo that we catch when my husband looks at the already printed card…so I have to correct the typo and reorder. I have scores of holiday cards that we never even mailed because of a typo and I refuse to throw them away.
Its always fun to write about the parties and joy that come with the holidays, but all those festivities come with a fair amount of pressure. While it’s easy to discount those stresses as “luxury problems” they are real and can be triggered unexpectedly. Here are a few thoughts on combating/coping with the holiday blues–perhaps before it even strikes.