Though this may sound a little strange, JB and I don’t exchange Christmas presents. We buy what we need throughout the year. We indulge in an item we really want here and there. But there’s no sense in feeling obligated to buy at Christmas.

I did happen to be in the mall yesterday, though. Presents aside, I appreciate a good sale just like the next gal. Macy’s was celebrating their “Friends & Family” sale, which meant brands like Ralph Lauren were on sale, too. As part of the “business casual” side of wardrobes, it was nice to take advantage.

The thing is, those closer we get to Christmas, the less I want to go into stores. There’s so much frantic energy and you can feel the stress pouring off of shoppers and sales people alike. Often stress leads to meanness. I witnessed the total lack of acknowledgement to a sales person. Not even a “thank you”, even though this is one of the most charasmatic sales people I have come in contact with. He tried to push to be seen with his “Thank you for Shopping at Macy’s” line after they were already walking away as if he didn’t exist.

A couple of years ago, I happened to be in Kohls the first week of December looking for something we genuinely needed: slippers for JB. His were worn out and needed replacing, so I wanted to take advantage of the holiday sales. In the store along with me were crazed shoppers, just throwing things into their little carts. Popcorn machines. Keurig pods, socks, sweaters….

This past May, I cleaned out our dressers. Among what I tossed? Two dozen new-like sweaters in JB’s drawers.  You see, he isn’t a sweater guy. A sweatshirt on the weekends sometimes, but sweaters? Not in the 5 years we’ve been together.  But, family members bought him sweaters for Christmas and birthdays because they’re an easy gift.  I kept three really beautiful ones (solid navy, solid green, solid black) but not the rest.

As we move towards the gift giving season, I’m all about buying needed items and meaningful gifts for those we love. However, don’t buy piles of unnecessary things in order to meet any kind of imaginary quotas. This is just that reminder to think before you shop. We want our gifts to be loved and used, but what a waste to fill someone else’s drawers with items they don’t like or love or will ever wear or use.

So, tell me, darling, what about you? Do you get caught up in the energy of shopping and buy, buy, buy? Can you release some of the “shoulds” this week. What if you reduced the “need” for a certain number of packages under the tree or stopped trying to be “equal” when it came to gifts for the family?

What can you do to extend yourself more grace?  How can you give yourself permission to unplug and nourish your real needs? To cultivate your desired feelings and experiences this holiday season?

Note – this was my “love note” to my newsletter subscribers today.