A few years ago, though, my mom, my sister Ann and I decided not to do gifts anymore on Christmas. Each year the gift giving continued to escalate.
My mom would get anxious that she hadn’t bought enough. I would spend way more than I intended to. My sister would get stressed out. My mom would stay up too late wrapping. I would wake up with an over-spending hangover round about January 2nd.
My sister Ann is helping me with the edits on my book. (She’s a genius and she also edited Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map. You can find her HERE.) One of the key concepts of my book, Money: A Love Story (Hay House, 2013) is that in order to receive more value (and money) we need to give more value.
Ann asked me a brilliant question:
Luckily, the answer is simple. Your body will tell you. Your feelings will be your guide.
Imagine one of those fountains that spurts out water and then collects it in a reservoir beneath. The water then gets recycled and sucked back up through the fountain to spurt out again. It’s a beautiful, self-contained water spurting and saving mechanism. Good for aesthetics. Good for Mother Earth.
Now picture a garden sprinkler. Water comes through the hose and spurts out onto your perennial beds. The perennials soak up the water but as long as you have the sprinkler on you need a constant source of new water. The sprinkler does not replenish itself.
When we’re over-giving we’re the garden sprinkler. The first few spurts might feel great and our little pansies wake right up and are very happy to be hydrated. But after a while the water stores bgin to get low.
What if you’re part of a family that does give gifts for the holidays? What if, like me, you’re a generous person but don’t want to cross the line and become an overworked, rusty garden sprinkler busting her butt for her pansies without so much as a thank you?
1. Give yourself plenty of time for gift planning, shopping, wrapping, and/or creating if you’re a DIY type. One of my favorite things is to look for gifts for people all year long. I may buy my mom’s birthday gift in March even though her birthday isn’t until October. I may start keeping an eye out for Christmas gifts in July. It’s when we rush that we tend to overspend, get anxious that we didn’t buy enough, and feel resentful. Give yourself the gift of time first and then you can give from an open, abundant heart.
2. Next year, implement a few new family traditions that don’t include giving gifts, but instead allow you to enjoy one another’s precious presence. Some ideas to share with your family in lieu of gifts:
3. When you’ve already spent more than you intended to, stayed up all night cooking, cleaned your house for 4 days without anyone noticing, or you’re just not feeling so hot and you suspect you may have been bitten by the over-giving bug, simply stop doing what you’re doing.
Do you have other ways of avoiding or halting over-giving that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and let us know what it is!
P.S. Last week I announced a new project I’m working on about self-love and feeling your hottest in 2013. Check it out and join the party by clicking here.
Grab your Do Less Weekly Planning Ritual Guide – it’s free!
By signing up for my newsletter you'll receive weekly emails from me and occasional promotions. I take your privacy very seriously and will never distribute or sell your email address or information.