Today I want to talk to you about an exciting “aha!” moment I had recently, and it came from a little hockey phrase that taught me something very big about Christmas.
We have less than 10 days before Christmas now, can you believe it? If you are like me, as Christmas gets closer and closer, you start to breathe a little shallower. I was driving the other day, and all of a sudden this overwhelming feeling hit me like I was disappointing or letting someone down. It was all revolving around Christmas. Let me explain why.
Doing Christmas Differently
I’m doing something differently this year than I have in the past. I am not sending Christmas cards out anymore. Now, I love receiving Christmas cards. I love going to the mail to open cards and reading about what’s been happening through the year with my loved ones.
However, when it came to doing them for my own family, I started to get overwhelmed with what pictures I should pick, what I should put in the letter, what outfits we should wear, who they should go to. The genuineness of the card was replaced with the idea of making it perfect. The motivation behind it was no longer pure. So this year, I’m no longer sending cards out.
Alleviating the Stress of the Season
There are some other things I’m doing as well to alleviate some of the stress. I have probably 50% fewer decorations than I have ever before. I used to have 5 or 6 trees that I would put up, I’d decorate my railings, everything. I love going to homes that go all out for Christmas, but when I would do it in years past, it would just stress me out too much. The motivation was no longer pure!
Also nowadays, IF I do make Christmas cookies for the neighbors, I’m not doing several different types of cookies, I’m only doing ONE. I’m not going to stress myself out. The motivation changes again to the materialistic idea of competing against other people, not the genuine reason for the season.
Here’s the biggest thing I’ve changed – this year I decided that I was not going to buy gifts just to buy gifts. Here’s how I used to measure if I had enough gifts – I’d look at how far they came out from under the tree. If they didn’t come out far enough, I’d continue shopping. How messed up is that? I decided that the people I love very much know that it’s not the gift that signifies the love I have for them. It’s not the presents – it’s my presence.
Performing to Meet Others’ Approval
These 4 things are happening through me in a major way. As I was driving around, I began having the overwhelming feeling that I’m letting people down. I’m not measuring up. And I realized that it was these feelings, like I have something to prove, that were causing it. All of those activities were saying I had to prove something. I had to perform to meet someone’s approval.
I feel that many of us do this. I realized that I was receiving my worth from buying gifts for others. If I didn’t do it, I was a failure. I wasn’t measuring up. Here’s where the hockey phrase comes in…
As I was having this overwhelming feeling, this phrase came into my brain. “Step up.” Something dawned on me. I knew I had heard it in my son’s game recently, and it was just an “aha” moment. Let me explain.
In hockey, the coach might yell to the defenseman to step up. What it means is that as the forward from the other team is skating down the ice, the defenseman is to skate up to stop the play and challenge the forward. He can poke check with the stick, he can force him out of the way so he goes to the wall, but the idea is to move forward and challenge the other team.
Now – I hope my kids are reading this. They’d be so proud of me describing that hockey reference!
We Are Not Supposed to Step Up
But, anyway, here’s what that meant to me in the moment. I realized that I should not step up when it comes to Christmas. I am forcing Christmas and challenging Christmas to come to me, but Christmas really just wants to come to all of us. We don’t want to wake up December 26th and wonder what just happened and where the season went.
We are not supposed to step up and challenge Christmas. We are to let it come to us so that we feel the joy. So that we feel the significance. So that we feel gratitude for what Christmas means. To remind us that we are enough and that we don’t have to do one more thing. We don’t have to make one more dozen cookies. We don’t have to put up one more tree. We don’t have to send a huge stack of Christmas cards. We can if we want…but we do not have to.
Let Christmas Come to You
So instead of me stepping up and forcing Christmas, I’m going to let it go and let it come to me. it’s the opposite of what we tell the defensemen. Let Christmas come to you. I want you to ask yourself…do you need to let Christmas come to you? Do you need to stop skating forward and let Christmas bless you for what it is?
Here’s what I want you to think about. I actually put this on a post-it note in my vehicle recently. It says, what can you let go of this season to make room for the joy of the holiday? I want you to really think about that. What can you let go of?
What Can You Let Go Of?
If you know someone who is stressing out these last few days before Christmas, share this with them! I hate watching people stress out about the season. More than anything, get quiet…grab a cup of coffee…go sit in a quiet place for a while. And think…what can I let go of this season so that I can make room of and receive the joy of Christmas?
If you got any value out of this, please pay it forward. I believe in the power of paying it forward and sharing life lessons that we’ve learned with one another. And most importantly…try to really find joy this Christmas season!