Holiday Hangover and 2014’s Grateful Resolve

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…

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Creating Holiday Hope: Some Assembly Required

Despair Or Hope Directions  courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.
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Celebrating the Holidays at Work

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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.
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Taxi Cab Confessions: Holiday Edition

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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.

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The Santa Dance

Santa Hat

image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My post today isn’t going to be a gift list or guide. Sorry in advance, although it IS slightly gifting related.

Before you continue reading any further, make sure there are only adults present–no children (or inner children) peeking behind you or reading over your shoulder. There are some “holiday spoilers” in this post, if you catch my drift. Alright, now that you’ve done that, I can share the rest of this with you.

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