2017 Holiday Message: Being Present Is a Gift

Holiday Gifts

With just a few days left before Christmas, here’s a way to lower your stress and enjoy yourself more.

If you prefer reading to watching, here’s the transcript.

Well, hey there. It’s Kristen. Welcome to a special Being and Doing Now holiday message.

And today I have just a few thoughts to share with you. It’s just a few days before Christmas, and I’ll start with a story. And that is, a young woman was in the kitchen preparing a meal, getting ready to have her family over for the holidays. And she was cutting the ends off a ham before she put it into the oven to bake. And her husband came into the kitchen and said, “Honey, why are you cutting the ends off the ham?” And she said, “You know, that’s a good question. I don’t know. I just always saw my mother do it.”
So she called her mother and said, “Mom, when you were baking a ham, why did you cut the ends off before you put it in the oven?” And the mother said, “You know, that’s a good question. I don’t know. I just always saw my mother do it.”

So that woman called her mother and said, “Mom, before you were gonna bake a ham, why did you cut the ends off?” And the mother said, “Because I only had one pan. And in order to get the ham in the pan, to get it to fit, I had to cut the ends off.”

So, what that brings to mind to me is that we often do things automatically. We often do things out of habit, or because it was modeled for us, we saw somebody else doing it we and we picked it up, or at some point we just started doing it — whether we remember why we started doing it or not, and we just kept doing it. And it just became the thing that you do, right?

But especially with just a few days before Christmas, my question to you is, What are some of the things that you may be doing automatically, or by habit, that you don’t necessarily realize you’re doing — that may not really be as important as they may feel to you in the big scheme of things?

So, for example, I imagine that a lot of us have very long to-do lists right now with just a few days before Christmas — and whether that’s in your head or out on paper, it can create a lot of stress to feel like, how am I gonna get all of this done? You know, gifts bought and wrapped, and food bought and prepared, and decorations up, and all of those kinds of things.

You know, some of those things are really wonderful, right? It’s wonderful to give gifts, it’s wonderful to have food prepared just a particular way — the way that you envisioned — it’s wonderful to have decorations up, to celebrate.

And yet, are there some things on your list that maybe you could eliminate, that maybe are not as important as you may feel that they are? That maybe even though they may be small things, could create huge space for you — huge breathing room or a tremendous reduction of stress? Like maybe not putting up those last-minute decorations, when you already have decorations up, or maybe not running across town to get that one particular thing that might round out your decorative table.

You know that, honestly, nobody else is gonna notice if it’s not there, right? I’m not saying, by any means, don’t follow family traditions or, you know, like preparing a certain dish or putting up particular decorations or anything like that. Absolutely maintain and keep your family traditions, and choose the ones that are most important. Does it have to be every one, or maybe if you do five traditions are there maybe three or four that you could do, or one or two? And, again, just with the idea of creating a lot less stress for ourselves so that then, in turn, we can be present for our families. We can offer the gift of our presence with a “c” to those we love and to those around us, which often becomes a huge gift to them — a huge present with a “t.”

So, just a thought about what is important — about being present with friends and family and loved ones, and connecting, and how we can do that in some of those small ways that make a big difference.

So, whatever you’re doing this holiday season — whether you celebrate Christmas or not — whatever you’re doing and wherever you are, I hope that you have a wonderful, peaceful, joyous holiday season and new year. And if you don’t have anyone that you’re spending the holidays with and you feel alone, I hope that you’ll go over to beinganddoingnow.com. I hope you find something there that helps you feel connected, not only with yourself, but also with the universal family that we all are.

So, thank you so much for joining today. I will see you next time.

Kristen Quirk

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