Post Holiday Presents or Presence?

The Boxing Day sales have been on.  It’s so easy to want to sweep in and exchange gifts or buy an excess of clothing with the exorbitant discounts.  But before you drop your paycheck at the stores, did you really feel gratitude for what you already have?

I admit I am guilty of this.  Generally when I receive gifts I have been so mentally busy, that although I verbalize appreciation, I do not even get to utilize the gifts that are given to me.  And then without remembering, I buy more stuff.  This is not only the case with what other people buy me but with what I have bought myself.  I am not present to appreciate the presents.

These past several months, I’ve been traveling to numerous countries, while maintaining a full time job.  Each time I return home from a brief trip, I throw my luggage to the side, keeping souvenirs in them, along with gifts I receive, or mail I need to go through. My things simply seem to accumulate, and they are “things” because I cannot totally recall what is in there.

Years ago I read Maria Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Cleaning Up, and although I tried to implement her method of organization, it did not stick.  The main principle in the book is that our home should be filled with items that only spark joy, if it doesn’t get rid of it.  We must feel each item in our hand, notice if it brings this feeling, and if not thank the item aloud, and discard of it.  It served it’s purpose, even if it was never used, it reminded you of what you do like.

Now with some holiday time off, I am starting to sift through what I do have, and seeing what sparks joy.  Instead of re-gifting a present that doesn’t suit me, exchanging it, or waiting for the right moment to use it, I am going to embrace it now. It’s endless the amount of things we have excess of that we may not use or appreciate to the extent that is possible : food, jewelry, clothing, books, music, podcasts, or social media sites.

One example I noticed yesterday is when sifting through Facebook, I found a humorous pet video enduring and want to share this with my husband.  In the meantime, I was  ignoring the pawing of my dog who was longing for attention.  She simply wants my presence, and I wasn’t available to give it to her.

As I create new goals for 2018, I know one of them will be Be Grateful for What I Have and Utilize It.  But this is hard to quantify.  Goals should be specific and measurable.  Therefore, what I am going to do is commit to writing one Thank You card per month.  These will not be combined with birthday wishes or holiday greetings.  They will be separate thank you’s to 12 different people that have assisted me in some way.

Do you live in excess? Do all of your belongings spark joy? How do you express sincere gratitude for those who have helped you in some capacity?  I hope this holiday season brings you reflection in how you want to live your life next year.

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