After getting my nails done last Saturday, I fully intended on going straight home.
I ended up shopping until 11:30 pm, all for myself.
Am I a terrible person? lol
In my defense, they had some fantastic sales going on. I got the best pair of jeans for $20. TWENTY BUCKS, people! Just doing my part to stimulate the economy. 😉
Plus, all joking aside, other than shopping for the blankets, socks and outerwear I bring to the homeless shelter every year, my family and I decided we weren’t going to be exchanging tangible gifts this year.
We have no little ones to shop for in the family. (I am having glamma pangs, though, so daughter, Imma need you to get right on that, mmmkay?)
We’re all grown, don’t need anything; anything we really want, we can buy ourselves. And none of us wants or needs more “stuff.”
It’s also been a pretty trying year for all of us with one crisis after another with my dad, who has Parkinson’s disease and increasing dementia related to the disease.
None of us has any desire this year to waste what precious little free time and energy we have getting caught up in the Christmas shopping frenzy.
So, I told my family I was opting out, and they all heartily agreed.
Instead, we decided any gifts we exchanged would be of the time/experience variety: being together and doing things together. That’s what we all truly value and cherish most.
I talked to my family about how important this time we have right now is in creating new, special memories with our dad as a family while we’re still able to, especially since we don’t know how much longer he will be with us, either mentally or physically.
Creating fresh moments and experiences that aren’t all centered around taking care of him (which can be extremely draining and frustrating) will be such a blessing when that time comes. It’s important that those are not our only last memories of him, and to create some happy, joyful ones that are a break from the day-to-day, for him and for us.
We did this on 4th of July. I had everyone over to my house on the beach. The weather was gorgeous. We talked and laughed. We ate delicious food. We sat and walked on the beach and dipped our toes in the water. We watched some Doc Martin. We had a couple beers. We lit our own fireworks, and in the evening we watched the community fireworks all along the shores.
Getting my dad out of the house can be difficult and he tires easily these days so I couldn’t believe he actually agreed to it. But I know he’s so happy he did. We all still laugh and talk about that day. It was so fun and magical and wonderful.
In that spirit, we are going to the mountains for Christmas. When I first suggested it, I really wasn’t expecting dad to want to go and again was shocked that he agreed.
My dad used to collect TR3s when I was growing up and the inn and restaurant we’ll be going to has all kinds of fond memories for him from his car club days when he would pile mom and us kids all in for roadtrips to the mountain.
It’s turned into the perfect plan and we’re all really looking forward to it!
So, dear friends, my heartfelt wish for you is, no matter what difficulties you may be going through right now, that you are able to carve a moment out to tell your loved ones how much you love them (no matter what difficult, conflicted relationship you might have), give them a big smooch and a squeeze, and spend some good, quality time laughing and enjoying each other’s company.
You will be so grateful you did for the rest of your life. Because it’s not the “stuff” you will remember; it’s these expressions of love and memories of time spent together that will lift your spirit.
May your joys be many and your burdens light this holiday season and in the year to come!