With the approaching holidays most homemakers have mixed emotions. On one hand there is the desire and anticipation that everything will be peaceful and beautiful but on the other hand, the reality of the season can bring human and sometimes contradictory moments. We have all felt this tug unless we have had a magic wand that makes everything perfect.
We know that this is the season for giving but sometimes, if we are not careful, we can begin to think that we are the only ones concerned about giving. We have our lists of the many things to be done and just looking at them, on occasion, can bring panic and a “poor me” attitude. The gifts to be bought, the house to be decorated, the cookies and treats to be baked, the cards to be addressed and mailed as well as the ongoing everyday responsibilities can be overwhelming.
In my conversations with homemakers over the years there has been a recurring theme of concern about all those responsibilities falling to them. We all know in our hearts that this shouldn’t be the case because, after all, we are social beings who are not meant to carry the load alone; but somehow regarding the upkeep of the home we haven’t quite gotten the message.
I was thinking about this as I found myself in the midst of those “to do” lists, realizing that we have a perfect opportunity to give even more by allowing the others to give too. Little things are what make a difference and yet we have a tendency to hold on to those little things because they give us a bit more sense of control. When we allow ourselves to peel off the covering of all the things we do, we soon realize that we hold on to them because we think we can do them better in less time and we like the end results we achieve.
Just think for a moment about all the little things we could learn to share during this “giving season”. How many times have you replied “that’s alright I can handle it”? How many times have you re-arranged the dishwasher because it wasn’t loaded to your satisfaction or raced to throw the garbage out when your teenage son or spouse was just feet away? Pulling out the decorations, planning the menus and even addressing the cards not to mention baking the cookies can be a family affair. So often the others are only waiting to be asked. We may be so used to going it alone that we forget to allow the others to be part of the everyday giving. It is true that the packages may not be wrapped to your ideal or the Christmas table set as perfectly as you would like. The napkins and forks may be on the right side instead of the left with the plates too close together but that little sweetheart of yours will be humming a holiday tune as she does her best.
During this season we naturally think about the material gifts we want to give to those we love but it is also a time to think about the gifts that are meant to last. That idea of giving others the opportunity to be generous can overflow to a new year’s resolution. It is true that they may not be as anxious to help once the glow of the season is over. On the other hand by allowing them to experience a taste of the happy feeling of giving, you may create the catalyst needed to encourage both you and them to share the care of the home.
For some of us it is hard to let go when we want things to be perfect but in reality perfection can never truly be achieved; what can be obtained is a sense of what is important. In sharing the load with the family we realize what a blessing each one is and we also realize we are preparing them for their own homes and families some day. As we look back on our lives, we smile when we think of those intangible gifts we have carried with us through the years and realize many of those gifts were gleaned from the little things we learned growing up. Sharing the care during these days may be an initial sacrifice for those of us who like to go it alone but after all, what is a gift meant to be but a bit of a sacrifice? I don’t know if there is a saying that proclaims ‘with every sacrifice comes a hidden reward’ but if there isn’t such a saying, there should be. In this instance it could be a hidden gift to ourselves that will keep giving when we step back to welcome it.