I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas. Time with family is always a good thing, and with lots of babies around, the joy is that much greater. However, here we are, the day after, and I’m experiencing the same Christmas Hangover I’ve experienced the last few years.
You wake up and there’s wrapping paper strewn about, the house is a mess. Your stomach aches from all the food you munched on through out the day, and your mental muscles are throbbing as you contemplate who gave you what, where your going to get thank you cards to thank them, what your going to do with all the extra stuff you now have, and how your going to balance your budget in light of the extra shopping splurge. As if that wasn’t enough, my biggest struggle is with regret. There are a lot of things I find myself regretting about the holiday season, but these are the primary ones.
I regret not being more outspoken about my thoughts and opinions. I tend to try and keep my mouth semi-shut from Thanksgiving through Christmas about consumerism. Sure I’ll mention Buy Nothing Day, charities to donate to, and Christmas is not your Birthday, but overall I really try not to push the anti-consumerism buttons too much during this time. I worry about coming across as a Scrooge. Yet, December 26th rolls around and I wish I’d said more. As I recognize others aches over their busted budget, realize there where many who would have eagerly agreed with me if I had just made some suggestions, and as I admit my passive contribution to the consumeristic culture I try to avoid.
I regret not being more grateful and cheerful during this season. As much as I try to express genuine thanks for gifts, people’s kindness, and general cheerfulness about the ‘reason for the season’, I feel like I often fall short. Regardless of how I feel about gifts, the reality is people who love me put time, effort and money into showing that through tangible gifts to me. Regardless of how I feel about the overdone ‘holiday’, it is a time where people genuinely think about others, donate, volunteer, give, and love. Even if I have problems with the motivation, I can’t deny that there are some pretty amazing things given this time of year.
I regret not making a wishlist. This is a very practical one. Every year, regardless of my desire to have gifts donated on my behalf, to not receive things I don’t need, and to avoid the consumerism, my loved ones still desire to express their love through the purchase of things for me. The truth is there are things that I need and want. If I would just go to the little extra effort of being specific and helping my loved ones out, they would be able to experience the joy of giving and I the joy of receiving something I specifically want.
I regret my lack of effort in my giving. As much as possible, we give donations on behalf of our loved ones during the holidays. We like to donate to World Vision and World Relief, donating items specific to the individual they are in honor of (A pig for the aspiring farmer, a child’s tuition for the teacher, a new mom kit on behalf of a new mom). One of the first times we did this we made paper mache animals representing the donation. Now, it’s become so routine that I haven’t put much additional love and effort behind the giving. I’d love to do more hand crafted gifts, labor of love type gifts.
I’m not sure if others experience similar regrets after the holidays, but I’m going to make it a goal to change that this coming year. It might mean I make some hand made things and store them for the next 11 months, but I’m going to put more love in my holiday spirit next time around.