I had a crisis in Christmas spirit yesterday. Yes, me, the Ghost of Christmas I-Believe-in-Everything. As I was searching to recover my peace and joy, I came across an idea that might help someone else who might be struggling a bit with the season.
Untangle the lights.
Take the strand of your existence and untangle it by breaking it down to its basics then slowly add back the things that you must do and the things that you want to do. For me, I am overwhelmed by the list of “Must-Dos.” So I ask myself, “How many really are essential, and how can I prioritize them to leave room for a happy spirit?”
I am blessed not to have to worry about shelter, and so in honor of the season I can give to organizations that help others with that particular burden. I still must take care of food and clothing, so going to the store and doing laundry are priorities that cannot be ignored. I can help others with the same with donations to food banks and to Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Food, clothing, shelter–check, check, check. I think the point of A Christmas Carol, by the way, is that those donations should be a priority all throughout the year, maintaining the Christmas spirit year-round. I like the sound of that.
Next is the gift-giving. Christmas is a time of giving, just as the Wise Men brought gifts to Jesus. (Don’t pester me with the details of timing for the events of Christmas. I am dealing here with the spirit of the time.) This requires stepping back and thinking closely about those on my giving list. Perhaps the best gift is not something that can be wrapped under the tree. I know I need to give my mother more time, for example, and that requires a reorganizing of priorities for the entire year. I need also to spend more time letting friends know that I care about them and I am thinking about them. Again, hard to wrap, but a resolution I can make and show throughout the New Year. So I have to prioritize the expenditure of my time to showing love to others. What does that mean for today? Quick phone calls, texts and e-mails to let others know I am thinking of them. Christmas cards, too, usually shoved aside, should perhaps be moved up in priority to let others know I am thinking of them.
And so I find my purpose for the day. My lights are untangled and my priorities are clear. Off I go to care for the basics first, then on to gift-giving plans. The rest of my list can wait for another day, even if it never gets done.