As many of you know, Brené Brown is a great storyteller who has a wonderful way of sharing her research with us. One aspect of her research that really resonated with me, has to do with gratitude. When Brené interviewed people who had lost children and loved ones, do you know what they missed most? It was the little, everyday moments in life. The “I love you’s”, watching them at play and eating dinner together.
This time of year, many of us put extraordinary pressures on ourselves. We want the perfect Christmas tree in a great house. We want to find the best (and sometimes the biggest, most expensive) gift for the people we love. We want to go to every holiday party and get every family tradition in before December 25th. We want to look like the perfect family for that greeting card and the family reunion.
My wish for you, for me, for all of us this year is that we take a deep breath and remember that all of those unrealistic expectations are not what really matters. It’s the day-to-day, small moments with the people we love that are important.
Examine your holiday to do list and consider if you have made time for any of the following:
- Look your kids in the eye when they tell you about their day
- Sit with your family, rather than getting stuff done in a separate room
- Be silent and listen to those you work with
- Give more hugs and less expensive toys
- Donate your time as a family
- Smile and wish people Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, and really mean it
- Appreciate those closest to you and tell them so
Giving and receiving gifts like these will mean more than anything you might find under the tree this year.