With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching, and the holiday seasoning winding down, I found myself reflecting on the important people in my life, and how we choose to celebrate these people. When we think of birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and other important holidays, what do we think of? For me, the first thing that pops into my mind is gifts. Chocolates and flowers for Valentine’s Day and anniversaries, expensive presents, gift cards, and even money for other important occasions. But is this how we really want to celebrate the most important people in our lives?
While gift-giving can be a great way to show a loved one that you’ve been thinking about them, spending quality time with loved ones is also extremely important. A study outlined by NPR in a December article suggested that people felt most loved during times of interaction rather than when receiving gifts. However, during busy holiday times, such as in December, people often feel additional stress at having to rush to spend time with people close to them.
During these times of high stress, such as Christmas, we often lose sight of being present. We become consumed with worries about making it to every family gathering, getting the right gifts, and planning out every detail of our holidays that we may forget to stop and enjoy the moment. Christmas may be over for this year, but we can still practice being more present with our loved ones. Take some time to breathe and ground yourself before attending that birthday party or anniversary dinner – leave the stress from work and home where they belong, and practice being in the moment.
Instead of focusing on gifts for your upcoming anniversary or birthday, why not begin a tradition that involves spending time with one another, or going on an adventure every year? Maybe you and you partner decide that every year on your anniversary you will try a new restaurant in a different city, or that every Christmas you will plan your annual trip together. Try shifting your focus from giving and receiving material items, to making new memories and living a fulfilled life.
All in all, I think we sometimes lose sight of why we take time out of our busy lives to see the people who are important to us. We want them to feel loved and appreciated, and know that they are important to us. So maybe try something new – make some great memories that will last a lifetime with the people that are most important in your life.