The holiday season is here, and Patty has a special message you. She’s talking to the over-givers but please know that today’s message will be helpful for everyone else too.
When it comes to planning and preparing for the holidays including gift-buying and gift-giving we can all benefit with the practical, easy to do tips Patty shares.
Let your giving bring joy to others and yourself. Patty’s strategies will help you experience joy while keeping finances and expectations in check.
The magic of the holidays can be real for all of us when we recognize the experiences that are meaningful. Patty shares her personal approach to embracing (or skipping) all the things that find their way onto your calendar.
In addition to Christmas, Hanukkah and end of year celebrations we’re also approaching the winter solstice. Patty explains the energetic impact during this time of year.
Listen and use Patty’s guidance to feel amazing and have a wonderful holiday.
Welcome to the wealth and purpose podcast where people who are led by their hearts come to learn the secrets to creating wealth in a way that feels really good and live their purpose fully in the process. I’m your host, Patty Lennon. I’m an ex type-A corporate banker, turned intuitive business coach. I’m also a wife, a mom to two pre-teens, a professor, girl scout leader and well, Hey, you get it. Like you I wear a lot of hats, whether you’re looking for inspiration to get started or strategies to get growing. I am here to help you create abundance in every area of your life in business. Welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome.
Well here in the States we are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, which for me sort of is the beginning of the holiday season. And maybe if you’re one of those crazy people out there who starts prepping for Christmas or a holiday a couple of weeks ago, well then I’m sure it’s you’re well on your way.
(01:02) But I think for most of us tomorrow marks the beginning of the holidays, at least in the States. And for those of you listening in other countries, I’m guessing you’re getting into the holiday spirit now as well. So what I found really helpful was to shift the way that I approached the holidays many years ago as I became aware of the fact that I was an over giver. So I’ve shared before that I’m a recovering perfectionist, control freak overgiver. All those things. And what I found is it doesn’t make sense to fight your, your tendencies, your natural instincts to want things perfect, to want them to control, to want them, you know, to be giving. What you want to do is create balance points that help you balance, you know, your extreme tendencies with what is healthier for you. And so as we move into this holiday season, if you are an over giver, then this podcast is especially for you.
(02:10) And even if you don’t call yourself an over giver, I think what I have to share with you will be super helpful in helping you have a holiday season that you’re really, really happy about. And what I mean by that is when you wake up on January 1st or the second or even the 15th when your credit card bill starts to roll in, that you look back over the holidays and you just feel a grounded, joyful sense of what’s gone on, that you feel that your time and your energy and your money was well used. And what happens for over givers is our joy in giving can really, really go next level during the holidays. And it’s kinda crazy to try and temper your giving nature during the holidays when that’s what so much of this is about because that’ll just drain the joy from you as well. But there are some things you can do with some practices you can put in place that will ensure that you do it in a really healthy and balanced way for yourself.
(03:14) So probably not the most fun way to do this, and I will get to some other things I think are a little bit more enjoyable, but a really good practice to put in place is to set a budget on your giving. And especially when it comes to gifts and or charitable donations, and I am not someone who loves budgets. I, you know, it’s my bookkeeper and accountant that have to keep me honest. But what I found with the holiday season is that things could really get away from me if I didn’t really put some constraints on it because I would just feel called in the moment to spend an extra 50 or a hundred dollars on someone’s gift that really wasn’t necessary and wasn’t even necessary to bring more joy to them. Putting enough thought into the gift at the budget amount that I had set for the gift was perfectly fine.
(04:08) I have kids. So that’s absolutely necessary because as they’ve gotten older, their gift lists has gotten quite expensive. And so setting the budget before I actually see their list really helps my husband and I make good choices. And so I would just offer to you, put the budget in place, maybe even give yourself like the budget you’d like to stick to and then like this ceiling that you absolutely won’t go above. And so that’s one, one way that you can really, really offer yourself some, some help around the holidays. And it’s a very basic one. I’m sure you’ve heard it many places, but I think it definitely needs to be said many, many times for it to finally sink in for us right? Now to counter balance the boringness and the Grinch newness of a budget. I will tell you that one of the things that I budget for is a gift for myself.
(05:02) That’s one thing. And the other thing is for random gifting and what that looks like is random acts of kindness. And this really was inspired for me during a really difficult time in our community. So I live in the town next to Sandy hook. And um, so right after the Sandy Hook shootings took place, you know, there was just such a need inside of me to just look like I was being helpful. And so I would go around and I would give gift cards to all the people who were doing public work. So the police officers a gift cards for coffee shops, um, the police officers, the fireman and any of the, the people that were doing that work. And I really, it, it just helped. And it was also a lot of joy in a time that was somewhat dark. And so the following year I did it again and um, it was December 14th is the day of that tragedy.
(06:03) And so that was very close to the holidays and all of a sudden I realized that this was a really nice way to give in the way that I love to give most. And if you’re like me and you’re an over giver, you can probably relate to this, which is to let your giving be something that brings joy to another person. And there is no more joy than you can witness when you give a complete stranger a gift. I mean that’s super cool and you don’t have to budget a lot of money, you know, five, 10, I typically do $25 I get five, $5 gift cards and I give them out randomly. That is a really fun way to like include some things in your budget that really feed the joy you feel in magical giving. So that’s one. So now that we’re done with the boring stuff, I’ll go into more, more interesting stuff, which is design your holiday for you.
(06:56) And what that means is that what they’ll probably find is that you have like a core group of memories from your past or maybe that you wished you had had or some version of a memory that you wished was just a little bit jucier that you would love for it to happen this holiday season. And I’ll give you an example. It’s um, for me it’s a watching A Wonderful Life with my husband, by the fire sipping wine, just having this really quiet night. This was something that used to happen all the time before the kids came along and then it disappeared. And I had always thought that it would just keep, every year I went into it thinking one night you just happened. I mean, how hard is it after the kids go to bed to watch a movie? But apparently very hard. So what I found was I need to make a list of what I wanted to happen and then make sure that that got priority.
(07:52) So rather than hoping it would just happen or expecting that it would just happen, you know, my husband and I would put that on the calendar and my husband’s way more go with the flow than I am. But for him to know that that was our, it’s A Wonderful Life night then, especially when the kids were younger, we would manage the day differently, especially. So we’d have enough energy at night to even stay up long enough to watch the whole movie. Um, some other memories that I realized were really important but were ending up getting lost along the way is to have a moment on Christmas morning that’s a holiday. We celebrate where my kids are opening their presence and I’m drinking a hot cup of coffee. And that’s less difficult to manage now that they’re older. But this started when they were young. I’m drinking a hot cup of coffee, sitting back with my husband, enjoying watching them, opening their presents.
(08:44) And the thing is, it was never working out like that for the first couple of years when I realized that this was something that was really important to me. And I started to look at why that wasn’t happening, realized that when they were younger, their toys came in this ridiculous packaging that would take us like just this enormous amount of time just to unearth the gift from the packaging. And you know, the minute you’d get something unearthed from its ridiculous packaging, the child would play with it for like three hot seconds and then be like the next one, the next door, the next one. And so we would spend the morning in this frenetic, uh, pace of trying to get these toys removed from their packaging. And when I realized that’s what was going on that next Christmas, what we did was, you know, my husband was, this was somewhat under duress for him, but, um, I forced him to sit with me on Christmas Eve and get all of the toys out of their packaging before I wrapped them.
(09:46) And so when they open them on Christmas morning, they didn’t need anything more from me. They could just play with them. And the that gave me my 10 minutes or so of having the hot cup of coffee and being able to watch them. Another thing for me is I have some friends, I’m super close with that, you know, being around them around the holidays is really special. And so getting that, that date on the books first before we sign up with any other holiday parties is super important to me. And so as you can see, none of these things took like huge amounts of life rearranging, but with a little consciousness and pre-planning, they dramatically changed the joy that I had at the holidays. So what I would recommend to you is, and maybe you want to do this before the budget because this is at least fun and the budget is maybe not so one is make the list of three or five or go for gold and go for 10 memories that you’re choosing to create throughout the holidays.
(10:49) Because what you’ll find probably looking back is that some version of those memories probably happened, but people were in a bad mood. Maybe someone was hungry. The logistics didn’t work out quite right to make it as special as you wanted to be. When you know that that memory is important to you, when you’re pre planning it all, as unromantic as that sounds, it really creates the ability for you to bring a lot more magic into those moments. And then that leads me to the final helpful point I will have for you and I will tell you that I wrote out a much longer description of some of these things and some additional guide points to how to improve your holiday if you’re an over giver. And if you’d like that, just go to pattylennon.com/holidayguide. I summarize what I just told you on this podcast and then I have some extra bonus points in there that will be helpful.
(11:43) And so the final point that I just want to share that really made a difference for me was to take care of myself first. Be really clear what I needed from my, for my energy first and foremost before I did anything else. And that had a lot to do with what I said yes to and what I said no to. And probably I’m not sure how many years back my husband decided to take alcohol out of his diet and now since then, sugar out of his diet. And so what we realized was without alcohol, some of the things we agreed to do, I mean I was still drinking, but he wasn’t. Were really hard. And the thing is, if, if you look at a holiday party, you’re invited to apply that rule, like assuming you do have cocktails, if you don’t, then it won’t matter.
(12:41) But if you do have cocktails, think about if alcohol wasn’t served at this party, is there any way you’d say yes to it that will give you a clear indication of whether that’s someplace you could feel really joyful at or not? Or the other part is if there wasn’t sugar there, because I find usually it’s alcohol or sugar or the things that kind of fill in the gaps of awkward social interaction. Well, if that’s not there, would you still say yes to that particular holiday party? Because depending on where you live, you may get invited to tons of things. It is not a requirement that you go. And the other thing is volunteering. So if, depending on where your community allegiances lie, if you have kids, if you have, uh, parents who you maybe need your help and they’re involved in community activities, you can get invited into doing a lot of community good, which is beautiful.
(13:33) You just want to make sure you’re agreeing to it at a level that makes total sense for your energy. So, um, just to summarize the three things here I’m talking about that can really, really amp up the, the beauty and the love and the juice that you feel around the holidays are, you know, making a list of your key memories that you want to create this holiday season. And then honoring those first setting a budget for your gifting, which includes setting some money aside for a gift for you and some random acts of giving. And finally take care of your energy first and foremost before you make any agreements to give away your time or energy. And finally along that last point, I just want to remind you that a lot of the holidays that our religions celebrate that, that the most common Western religions celebrate are built around the winter solstice.
(14:33) And that’s really about, you know, the winter solstice is the darkest day of the year. It’s the least amount of sunlight and that religions that existed before the religions. A lot of religions we celebrate now pay more pagan religions had ceremony built around that day because the next day and the day after that just keeps getting brighter and brighter and brighter. And so there’s a real natural instinct to honor this darkness first going within and then the light shining and then the hope that comes from that. And there’s a lot of beautiful energy around that happening. It’s why Christmas is what I celebrate. You know, Jesus was born. It was the hope with Hanukkah, the festival of lights, where there light, where there should have been darkness. All of this really comes back to that solstice energy. And that solstice energy is really encouraging us to just go inward and honor the darkness and know the hope that that there is light coming, but really to honor that energetic relationship we have to the planet and most of us are being called into hibernation around this time, and yet the media and socialization sort of looks at the holidays as this crazy party energy gift-giving time, but that’s not really what your energy is asking for you and for you to give fully from a full well, most important thing you can do is fill yourself up and to just make sure you’re taking that time alone for yourself.
(16:08) You’re taking that downtime, you know, lowering your commitment levels so that they honor where your energyIMG truly as that’s going to give you what you need to have a holiday that you can really feel good about and be celebrating a long after new year’s day comes. I hope that was helpful for you. Please go and check out that holiday guide, pattylennon.com/holidayguide. Certainly share this episode with every loved one that you have that you know tends to be the over giver in the holidays. Because I think we can all stand to use this message and hear it over and over again. All right. Thank you. And Hey, if you’re in the States and wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.
Hey, thanks for listening. And if you know someone who needs to hear this message, please share this podcast with them. And if you’re feeling really generous, I love for you to leave us a review on your favorite podcast app. It helps us reach many more people and it fills my heart with so much joy when I hear what you had to say about what you heard. I am cheering for your success have been amazing day.