Don’t lie to me about Santa.

We lie to kids all the time. We should stop. I often talk to Chris about all the Hallmark holidays that have gotten out of hand. Maybe I am a buzz kill, but we are basically telling kids lies and then later expect them to trust us. My parents did it and I turned out fine (at least I think I did), but I think I might just stop the craziness when I have kids. I thought Stefanie Wilder-Taylor said it just right in “Gummi Bears Should Not be Organic:

“Early on their life is filled with fantasies they believe to be true, such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy (notice I capitalized Tooth Fairy—because, like God, the Tooth Fairy is still very much a real and venerable life force in my house.) And who puts those fantasies in their head? We do. So when your child tries to convince you that the reason they took all the forks out of the kitchen is because they needed them to help run the jelly bean factory in their closet, how can we be mad when we’ve convinced them that a fat guy with a sack of toys is going to be sliding down their chimney?” page 92-93

She is right. We lie and then we expect them not to lie to us. Besides I think most kids do not even know the true meaning of Christmas. They think of it as a plethora of gifts, a tree, photos with Santa, and whatever other crazy traditions we have started. What if instead we all went back to the true meaning of Christmas? Giving to those in need and being together. Sadly, because of all the crazy hubbub of Christmas, I have become a Grinch. I do not want to buy you a gift just to get you a gift, and I do not want you to do the same. I do not need a thing.

It is funny — I decided to Google “the true meaning of Christmas” and I got such an array of answers about Jesus, God, and lots of other religious babble. One site did give me an answer I liked — that the true meaning of Christmas is Love. Now that is something I can wrap my arms around. Can we show our kids that? Instead of telling them about a fat, jolly Santa, the North Pole, and lots and lots of presents, why not show them how to give to kids in their community that do not have as much? Maybe sharing a coat with someone who does not have one? Or selecting toys to give to children that do not have any. What then are you teaching your kids? Love, gratitude, sharing, and appreciation for all they have each day?

I do not want to raise kids that feel they are just going to get presents upon presents under the Christmas tree, and so many they cannot even begin to appreciate them. That is commercialism and consumerism at its best. I would rather dote on them throughout the year, rather than swoop in on one day out of the year. Besides it feels like a lot of pressure, and is it really worth it? Call me a Grinch, but I do not want to start that tradition.

Valentine’s Day Scrooge

I might be the Scrooge to your Cupid. I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. I do not believe in it. For me it has nothing to do with cupid or love or chocolates or panties. It has everything to do with having these items each and every day. Chris knows that I do not care in the least about flowers, gifts, and that the last place I want to be on Valentine’s Day is a restaurant. I do not want to pay for overproduced, overpriced food with a bunch of couples that may just be meeting for the first time or for those that are just checking a box off a list with their spouse. Flowers — check. Dinner out — check. Happy wife? Maybe.

Happy wife, happy life. This happy wife does not equate Valentine’s Day in a typical way. Valentine’s Day should be lived everyday. Love, hugs, kisses, cupid…flowers…living appreciation. Surprises (even though I suck at keeping them). Each of these things shared at random throughout the year, means living love every day. What if we all tried to extend Valentine’s Day to every day of the year? Would we all be happier and more loved? Random Acts of Kindness every day to those we love.

Whatever you are doing on Saturday this year, whether going out with your loved one, or picking up a quick box of chocolates at the drug store, or staying home and snuggling on the couch, try to love today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Do not do it just because it is Valentine’s Day. Do it next week, next month, and this summer.

How are you living love in your life? Do you only do it on Valentine’s Day? Do you expect anything in return or are you just expressing yourself from your heart? Be Cupid every damn day.

Home

After traveling for a week, I am home. I have a big dopey grin on my face as I think about being home. We should all feel that way. Do you? I love thinking about crawling onto my clean sheets and into the bed that I love, right next to my hubby. As I look around my home to the things that are me, to the things that make it feel like home to us, and I sigh and take a moment to be grateful that my taste and Chris’ align. I know what you may be thinking. We should be taking our sense of home with us wherever we go. I do not disagree. Yes, as cheesy as I know it sounds, whenever or wherever I am with Chris, I feel home. But I am talking about that deep and wonderful feeling of appreciation for your physical home.

There are times when we might travel to a different city and love where we are and what we are exploring, but still end the day wishing we were sitting on our couch, or going to sleep in our bed. Eventually arriving home, it is like a breath of fresh air walking inside, opening up our bags, dropping our crusty clothes into the laundry, showering, and crawling into bed with joy and appreciation that we are home, and that all is good. Do you know the feeling?

We are all creatures of habit, and I am one that thoroughly enjoys being at home. The more I enjoy my house, and the more I cultivate the interior and exterior, the more it becomes my solace after a long day or week. The comfort of my home becomes the balance I need after an exhausting extroverted day, and allows me to nurture the introverted part of myself. A clutter free, clean, and purpose-filled place to rest my body and mind is how I recharge, which allows me to embark and take on the world.

What about you? Do you like things to be pristine and spotless? Does that ground and balance you when you come home from a long day, or is it about the items you have found from your travels that tell the story about your home? Is it the smell of your coffee maker filling the room, or the pitter patter of your dog’s paws across the hardwood floor? Is it the memories and events that happened in your home that make it feel special to you? Or, is it the people you share your home with that make your house a home to you?

I hope you feel you can come home from work, take off your bra, or strip to your boxers, let go of the challenges of the day, and unwind.

What does home mean and feel like to you?

Did You Know That You Matter?

Do you ever have those days when you wonder if what you do matters? That you matter? I recently read a good Daily Om article that was a good reminder that each of us matters.

There are so many areas in our personal and work lives that are perfect opportunities for helping others remember that they matter. Internal communications within an organization is a great way to utilize messaging to remind employees that what they do matters. It is an opportunity to share vision, team success, gratitude, and push employees to look to the future, grow, and challenge themselves. Managers have the opportunity to find ways to show their employees that they matter. Whether they manage a fast food restaurant, a department store, or a large corporation, managers have an opportunity to coach, guide, and find different ways to help employees feel valued for the work they are doing to drive the company in a forward direction.

In your personal life, do you go out of your way to tell your spouse or partner that you are grateful for them? Do you know if it means more to them when they hear your words of affirmation? Some of us have more confidence than others, and some of us are refueled by the words of those that love us the most. It is always something I try to keep in my thought, that just because someone I know and love is confident, it does not mean that individual does not need reminders of my gratitude for them and their place in my life. I love this quote from the Daily Om article:

“Our very existence affects countless people in countless ways. And because we are each essentially a microcosm of the larger universe, our internal experiences affect the whole of life more than we could ever imagine.”

If you do anything today, tell someone at work or in your personal life that they matter. Be sure to be genuine about it. Find something in the other person that you are truly grateful for, and tell them. You never know what your words can do to change and add life to someone’s day.

You matter.