Live in the Moment
Ah! Today I realized that it has been 11 days, well 12 by the time I post this, since my last post, I’m so sorry about that! Do you ever notice that the holidays seem to create a time warp? This year I felt so organized and ready and then about a week out from Christmas I did a quick gift inventory and realized that the gifts I had been working on throughout the year were not all finished up yet. EEEK!
Every year since graduating college and landing a big girl job, I have felt that I need to get my family and now my husband’s family a larger quantity of gifts for Christmas. The problem with this thought process was that I would be paying off this Christmas debt until May, every year. The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and love, not stress over how long it will take to pay off the debt. Last year my husband and I sat down and decided that we would talk to both of our families about scaling back Christmas to only one or two gifts per person. After broaching this topic with both of our families, everyone was on-board with the idea. We were ecstatic! For the first year since we began dating, neither of us would be going into debt for Christmas. It is such a great feeling knowing we will be able to save money and continue tackling our student loans (wooo!).
So with a new plan in place I decided that I wanted to make unique blankets for my mother and mother-in-law by using a combination of knitting and crocheting. I have been crocheting for about 17 years now, but I’ve never really been able to get into knitting because my lack of coordination with two needles always got the better of me. The first struggle was actually learning how to knit. So in January I went to the source of all learning, YouTube! Fast forward to December and I think I may have watched the video on how to cast-on about 25 different times and I think I’ve finally memorized the process, eh who am I kidding, I may still need it watch it a few more times. After “mastering” the cast-on, I found a book full of different patterns for beginners knitting. My goal with the blankets were each square was a different pattern and color, alternating between knitting and crocheting. With all of my tools and basics in tow, I set off to start the first square in February.
My first square I started off simple and did a crochet pattern since that was what I’m most comfortable with crafting. Once that first square was finished, I set off onto a simple knitting pattern or so I thought. I think I started and re-started that square about 5 times. Every time I would get a few rows in, I would notice that the repeat was not looking right and quickly realize that I’d lost track on the row count and have to undo all of the work. The worst time was when I was halfway done with the square and I realized that I had a stripe where the pattern was backwards and it wasn’t centered so it looked like an obvious mistake. That was such a blow to my confidence. As I sat there crying on the sofa, un-doing about a week’s worth of work it was the simple hug from my husband that lifted my spirits.
Fast forward to December and all of my work for these gifts through the year is finished as I made the final stitches to complete the projects. The problem then became that I didn’t have hand crafted gifts for a few people on my list. However, I was thankful that those people had already expressed that they simply just wanted gift cards so a quick trip to the store fixed that problem. It still felt weird to look at our tree and only see 15 presents for the various people in our lives compared to the 60 plus that would normally be there. I won’t lie, I was a bit nervous that we would be the only ones who would adhere to the minimized Christmas.
Thankfully my fears were for not. This year, as everyone opened our gifts I realized that I was happier than I have ever been on Christmas. I wasn’t stressing about how quickly my gifts would be opened and how long they would take to payoff. Instead, I was thinking how that everyone looked truly happy with the gifts I gave them and that we would get to spend the day together. It amazed me to see that both sides of our family stuck to the agreement and even asked if we could just do a Secret Santa version of Christmas for next year!
I know we all do not celebrate the same holidays, but the gist of this post still applies. Try not to focus on quantity, instead shift your focus to quality. I do not mean in regard to a gift, I mean in time. In the fast paced world, we live in it can be so easy to take time with loved ones for granted. Time is the one thing that is in finite supply and we cannot make more of it, no matter how much money we have to throw at the task. Make the most of the time you do have, take the extra ten minutes to listen to a story from a grandparent, even if you hear it every year. Take the time to hold the door for a stranger. Make the time to play with your pets. It is easy to have regrets, but it is just as easy to create a principle. Make time a principle that you will not waste. I know we all need money to live, but what is the point of living if you cannot take the time to enjoy yourself?
Make an effort to carve out about 15 minutes of time to dedicate to someone you love today. Put away your phone, turn off the television, and give them your undivided attention. You may see them in a whole new light.
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