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Presence Verses Presents: How I Got Back to the Real Holiday Spirit

Presence Verses Presents: How I Got Back to the Real Holiday Spirit

At the risk of repeating the very phrase thousands of bloggers have been sharing non-stop this month, there’s something you should know about me: I love Christmas and the holiday season.

Come Thanksgiving, I’m bursting at the seams for December festivities to begin.

The lights!
The bright, happy colors!
The intentional focus on joy and being kind!

This year, however, didn’t start quite the same. In the midst of the holiday hullabaloo, I realized something else about myself: I’d given in to the materialistic December lie.  

Although I fully believe the meaning of the season is love for others and yourself, I’d become head over heels for my presents too. From shopping holiday sales for myself to strategizing my gift wishes so I could tick as many items off as possible come Dec. 25, my gifts had become just as important as the real spirit of the season.

This I did not like. So, I took a page from Cindy Lou Who’s book when she wasn’t feeling the holiday spirit and decided to make a change: For the first time ever, I asked for less gifts. Rather than loads of stuff, I minimized my list to just a few things and requested that some of my gifts be donations to nonprofits helping women—something that would benefit someone besides me. And instead of thinking of what I’d get under the tree, I set my eyes on spending intentional time with those I love. In other words, I made presence my present.

And, friends, my Christmas heart has been changed forever.

It is a wonderful thing to walk through the holiday season intentionally focusing on loving people. I’ve been more helpful, in a better mood, more thankful, more patient and even more gracious to crazy drivers. I’ve also had more time with my husband. 

I’ve enjoyed making presence my present so much that I’m taking it one step further: I’ll be signing off from the blog and Instagram from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1. You may see me liking and commenting on a few Instagram posts (if/when there’s down time), but outside of that I am channeling all my energy into enjoying this truly wonderful time of year.

I hope you are all inspired to do the same.

Spoiler alert: Keep a lookout for the same kind of break next year. Being present has become my new favorite holiday tradition.

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