I wanted to share a Christmas Idea.
Something that has helped us enjoy this holiday a bit more.
Why not think about giving out holiday treats?
We started sharing holiday treats about eleven years ago and it has really been a rich part of our holiday.
When we moved to Richmond in 2003, we decided early on that we were NOT going to travel for any more major holidays. We were just tired of backed up flights and crowded highways with congestion and stress. We might travel again for some holidays, but drawing this boundary helped us enjoy a holiday peace that has been refreshing.
We adjusted our expectations and started new traditions. One of the things this led to was delivering treats to our neighbors and community workers.
About six years ago, I started to grab a quick photo of some of our deliverables – and I am glad I did!
Each year it changes as to what we deliver and the recipients sometimes change. The first few years we gave out homemade “peppermint bark” in baggies with huge bows. Another year we made mixed goodie bags with five dollar gift cards and gourmet coffee. Sometimes we add an ornament, stocking, or holiday towel – it depends on what I find that year.
Sharing holiday treats is different than giving goodies to family members – because instead – when you reach out to give to people in the community -(who are not needy or destitute) well it has a special feel because it is unexpected and can bring a certain joy that is hard to describe. Sometimes it can lead to making a few closer acquaintances. Also, it models giving – which is so important in a culture that consumes, takes, and accumulates! I knew we were onto something special when the one year (think it was ’05) – my son came to me a week before Christmas and said that when we delivered our plates this year, he wanted to deliver to the cul-de-sac in the back. There was something rich about the way he was prepping his delivery plan – and the “holiday treat shares” became an official annual tradition after that.
A few years ago I started adding some tea bags to our plates – and added some into into our Christmas letter (yeah, we still snail mail out about 70 holiday letters each year). I stopped adding the tea bags last year, but when I was down in Florida in February, one of my cousins told me how much she loved the tea bags with the letter -and she suggested I keep doing it! 🙂
So I am going back to adding tea bags with our mailed Christmas greeting, which is actually why I bought Talbott tea last month – I was hoping it would be a lightweight, gourmet bag of tea that would be a pleasant treat. But the Talbott tea was SO terrible I decided to use a different brand. Seriously, I would rather send NO tea rather than send something they would not enjoy.
In closing, sharing holiday treats each year has brought our family much joy. Such a little thing, but it has been little things like this that have helped us enjoy life more. Contentment is cultivated and peace is sometimes something we intentionally bring in. We save money and reduce stress by not traveling during the horrible holiday bustle. And we have some stories to tell, like nine hours on I-4, snowed in overnight at O’Hare, a day on the Pennsylvania turnpike, standstills on I-95, stuck at DIA, etc.). We have less stress in our lives because we visit family during off season times – where we can sit and talk more. Also, the little bit of money we use for outreach treats, well it brings a special joy that is priceless.
The holidays can be fun, but too often the Christmas season is NOT the “most wonderful time of the year” – and so without becoming too detached – try changing your traditions, try adjusting your expectations, and try finding new ways that you can enjoy this “mixed” holiday.
Linked to Kan’s Joy is challenge (20) – because joy for us – has been sharing holiday treats!