by Elva Patterson Rutters RSSW

Expectations. Expectations galore reign at this time of year. Sometimes it has reached the point of requiring one to be super human to fulfil the expectations surrounding each of us. The need to put things into perspective fluctuates with familial support, professional duties, memories of old, and the constant advertising. Have you taken a moment to sit back and really examine what is feasible for you?

Do the cookies need to be homemade, does the tree have to be color co-ordinated, does the outside display need to resonate Hollywood? The upsweep into all the bells and whistles is easy and happens almost unknowingly to us. Only when exhaustion hits, do we stop to explore our motivation. You can and do burn out and the joy of Christmas is diminished.

Traditions spiral us into a quandary. The sadness when a child rips open gift after gift, tosses it aside and opens another, cuts deep. There is so much they can’t comprehend, each one. It is a pack race to open them all. All your time selecting and wrapping is negated in a second. Now is the time to institute change.

Change is enforced by Covid for sure, but what can you do yourself? Perhaps this is the time to set a budget, so you are not paying til Spring the following year. If you don’t have the money, the responsible choice is not to spend it. The adage: “It is the thought that counts”, must permeate your choices. Giving everything with no boundaries, or budget, to a child is a dangerous practice. Yes, dangerous. It sets the youth up to have no concept of accountability or responsibility. Eventually, we all need to learn budgeting skills, so start young. Perhaps only one gift of their desires. Now without the Sears Wish book, knowing their selection is more difficult, but taking the time to listen, is most important.

Be innovative. The child who likes to bake, buy them the ingredients for those brownies and select a date to bake. The sky is the limit. Whatever you choose will be filled with love and appreciation. Take a moment and verbalize your appreciation to those you love.

Christmas is in your heart. Not a tangible item to see. May the peace and contentment of love, surprises, and appreciation radiate through your heart.


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