About ten years ago, I was in the pharmacy, deep in the cycle of buying rolls and rolls of wrapping paper to cover all of the stuff that I had frantically purchased to give as gifts of the season. Standing in line, I realized I was being driven by a standard that was not really my own.
This moment of pause led me to some quieter moments of reflection. What was my standard? What did giving “gifts of the season” mean to me? What were the “gifts of the season” that I wanted to receive and what did I want to give?
The Gift of Rituals and Meaningful Traditions
I really didn’t know exactly how to answer those questions, but I was inspired to make my own wrapping paper. I had no idea how this ritual would eventually transform the season of giving for me,
When I make my own wrapping paper, I focus on making the gift look beautiful and special. Hand printing sheets of roll paper slows down the mass production I often feel during this time of year and actually feels really significant in a small production way. The time spent is like a mediation when thoughts come and go and intentional memories, hopes, wishes and prayers emerge. This draws me to thinking about how I will maximize what I have and giving a few gifts that are of high quality and meaningful, with plenty of paper to cover and embellish each one individually.
The act of making my own wrapping paper slowed down the process of giving gifts and helped me to think about what I am wrapping and packaging and why I want to give this gift.
There is an experience of joy as I select gifts that show my appreciation for someone else’s unique qualities or interests. I am able to settle into my belief that it’s a great privilege to be able to celebrate others and the gifts of the season in this way.
Relying on Rituals as they Evolve
This ritual has evolved to now serve me during the holiday season as I rely upon this activity to create a pause and allows me to pay attention to the true gifts of the season. Each year reinforces the importance of expressing love, support and gratitude.
Remember rituals are a work in progress and fine tuning and trimming is all part of adapting from season to season to make it work for you. Rituals need not be strictly adhered to and may even be dormant for a time, but once established, they are there for you when you need them.
What rituals bring you the opportunity to slow down, create peace and calm, and remind you of your wishes and your own unique gifts of the season? The New York Times has an entertaining and inspiring list of ideas for rituals and traditions that enhance our holiday experience.
Feeling overwhelmed with no idea how to slow down? Learn more about our brief family intervention with Room to Move.