The problem with finding the perfect Christmas gift is that if you are over the age of 8, it doesn’t exist. When you are young there is all magic and surprise and the right toy or new pajamas warms your soul.
These days I walk in circles in the stores never being able to find that “good enough” gift. Other than for my children who give lists, all other gifts begin to feel obligatory. Searching for these gifts becomes excruciating. I know why: I can’t give the one thing I really want to give everyone I love. I want them to know in their heart of hearts that they are loveable. “Eh” you may say, “I know I’m loveable!” But do you?
Do you know your lovable despite your zip code, or what brand you wear on your back, or where your child attends school, or what grades that child gets, or whether you are slim or heavy, or how clean and neat your home is, or if your gifts are bought and wrapped by December 1st? If you say, “None of that really matters to me.” Then why on earth do you work so hard to attain it if it isn’t to feel valued and loved?
I don’t really mind Christmas. There are some things about it I really cherish: the lights (oh lights this time of year are delicious), some of the music (my obscure Pandora Christmas Station is heavenly), the time off of work (needs no explanation), the food (when I allow myself to break with very old tradition and simply do what I want and what meets the needs of this particular year’s Christmas), and the Christmas Eve Service I attend (which takes me back to the church of my childhood and always brings me to shoulder shaking tears).
Then there is the gifting! Each year I get closer and closer to doing away with it, but then the Christmas Spirit gets to me and I’m out buying 24 tubes of hand lotion for those very special friends that I just can’t leave off of my list. That is when the window opens just a crack and the hurricane wind comes gushing in. I now find myself dazed and wandering around stores – a tattered, incoherent list in my hand.
The worst of all is when you love someone so much that you think you can actually BUY the perfect gift that will take the blues away and make them happy, and it never does. We are all still the same a few days after Christmas – even with our new sweaters, or running shoes, or cars. Even with this knowledge, I walk in circles in shopping malls – exhausted, full of anxiety, and knowing that what I’m searching for can’t be found.
Even here – I can say this – but I can’t give it to you. You have to give it to yourself. You have to sit with you – all of you – your strengths (which you often hide because you think it’s conceited to admit to them) and your weaknesses (which you often hide because you feel too vulnerable to admit to them).
Does it help that I tell you I am the same? I too have strengths – humor, compassion, empathy, an ability to let love replace all anger when someone is standing in front of me. I have weakness too – the default response that the holidays aren’t that important when in reality they just bring up a longing in me that I can’t name and I can’t satisfy, so I ignore it with my “bah humbugish” sort of comments,. I don’t sit in stillness enough in order to be more aware of what I’m saying out loud to those in front of me – this causes me to harm others on a semi-daily basis. I’m on the internet way too much – so much so – that it’s become very difficult for me to read more than a few paragraph of anything in one sitting. And my worst fault – I actually like the darkness – I’m not sure what draws me to it, but without it I don’t feel whole, and I don’t believe I will experience the light in the same way unless I embrace it.
There you have it – at least a version I think you can stomach – I could go on and on and on. But you get the gist – right? I’m a struggling human being. I struggle to be spiritually fit enough to be in the moment so I don’t miss the joy, and when the moments aren’t joyful, to know the difficulty always passes.
With all of this – I think I’m lovable. You too are lovable!! I swear you are!! Believe it!! Love yourself so you will be ready for others to love you too. Don’t be afraid of your weakness, and for goodness sakes, don’t be afraid of your strengths.