Letter to (Christmas) Selfishness

Xmas Selfish

Dearest Self

We’ve known each other for a while, you and I… And when it comes to you and all you are, I’ve battled with my prejudices and fought my natural tendencies.   But now, dear dark one, it is time to proclaim your victory… It is time for me to be unashamedly selfish.

I was born on a Saturday and Saturday’s Child works hard for a living. So it sticks in my mind and my gullet that as a child I was called lazy and selfish and to prove that I am not so – for years I have laboured at my work, I have worked hard to have the perfect house, to have the perfect life, to have everything… so that means of course the perfect Christmas too… And yet for all these labours, for all these years, tears and pushing, somehow, I never did seem to achieve the perfection I strove for…

When I bought my latest home, 8 years ago, I wanted something new and shiny. I had been a gypsy for a long while, moving constantly, perversely; squeezing in borrowed time in other people’s tarnished houses, perching in corners and furnishing temporary nests that did not belong to me, all in search of my own heart home and never quite finding it.

Instead my job distracted me from my life, and I worked long hours, pouring myself into my profession, turning the wheels, filling my head and my time with corporate concerns.

When I moved in to my shiny new home it was mid November, so I planned the perfect Christmas Christening for it. I had the perfect Christmas tree and the perfect decorations, all tastefully colour co-ordinated. I then carefully chose, collected and covered the perfect presents in the perfect wrapping paper.

I had by then, gathered around me a panoply of friends, along with all their children, and my little family of mother and brother both had Christmas birthdays too; so I shopped for and wrapped up 27 separate sets of gifts.

I wrote the perfect Christmas cards in gold ink, licked the envelopes down and sent them out on their way to long lost cousins and friends. I shopped for just the right food, picking this and selecting that.

I made arrangements to see family and friends – driving here, meeting there, distributing and eating mince pies along the way..

And I loved doing all that. Loved my sparkling new Christmas home. Love gifting and wrapping and writing and visiting and cooking and shopping and everything else that went with it.

And now to Christmas present… I’m busy with work right up to Christmas Eve and that’s good, although it means that I’m tired, very tired… And being tired means that I’m not always the best friend or sister or what ever, and that as a result I guard my time and my energy and keep them close to my chest.

So this means I decided that this year, that I am going to be selfish…

I’m not decorating my house from top to toe in Christmas glamour. I’m going to put up a small, undecorated tree and leave it at that. The decorations I have so carefully collated over time will wait another year or so in their boxes in the attic.

I’m not giving presents to my friend’s children any more, they are all grown up now and some have children of their own. Neither am I choosing and wrapping gifts for people I see once a year – usually to give them Christmas presents…

I’m not even giving gifts to my closest friends… This year I’m giving a little of myself instead… Not having been around as much as I’ve liked, I have neglected to nurture so many of the important relationships in my life. And in my absence, people have changed their patterns of friendship or even walked away from me. I’ve hated that and I’ve understood it too…

So to those who I hold dear, I’m giving an experience – some time for us to be together. To do things that we love. This means that I’ve bought tickets, meals, afternoon teas and other delicious delights. But instead of wrapping them up and giving them away to be opened unseen – I’ll share them. I’ll see them. I’ll experience them too.

In fact the only gifts I will wrap this year are for the people I am spending Christmas day with. To keep up a tradition, to see their faces, to share the experience and tear the wrapping paper.

And still there are lunches and dances and people to see. It’s just that now I have scaled everything down to simplicity, and in doing so I shall enjoy everything, rather than endure it. Less for my Christmas, is most definitely more.

And if I’m happy, then it follows that I can carry that happiness with me and share it out too…

Maybe I’m not being so selfish after all…

Yours and mine,

Sandra x

PS: As Christmas comes round and you are thinking of a gorgeous gift, a collection of the ‘Peachey Letters’ from this blog have been gathered together, along with new material, in book form.  It makes the perfect present, for you, family and friends… You can buy Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life on my website here or from Amazon (in Paperback and Kindle), and from all good book websites around the world…

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