Lean Into Joy
Theresa Polley
November 30, 2021
August 16, 2023
Be Inspired

We’re right in the middle of the annual holiday gift buying push. Remember when the holidays were a time of spreading hope, love and joy? Now its all about surviving the holidays as we fill our calendar with obligations and our to-do list with an endless list of tasks.

Survival of the holidays seems like an awfully low bar. Why can't we have more joy, more peace, more love? Instead of more gifts to buy, more obligations (we may or may not want), more cookies to bake or eat (or both) equals more stress and anxiety. In Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, the teaching is less is more. Less effort equals more ease. I encourage you to lean into less effort and allow yourself to truly have a holiday that fills you with joy. And not dread.

I believe it's up to us to tune out the noise and make changes to our traditions so we may truly experience hope, love and joy of the season.

A gift doesn’t equate love, yet some of us have been brainwashed to believe it does. Does a brand new physical gift really equal love? Let's show love to our loved ones and ourself by saying no the endless gift giving cycle. Sparing our loved ones the dilemma of where to put our gift. Saying no to the stress and anxiety we endure when looking for the perfect gift.

When my children were young, our Christmas tradition was to wrap up an item that belonged to us and regift it to each other. Socks! Toys! Books! So much fun! Before that I was the mom who shopped all year round to find the perfect gifts. Come Christmas Eve, when I was putting it all under the tree, it was an obscene amount of gifts. No child needs that many gifts - if you’ve been witness to the gift opening frenzy - wrapping paper and gifts scattered everywhere in five minutes or less - you know exactly what I'm talking about. So much stress and anxiety and for what?!

Now that my children are adults, we plan experiences together as our Christmas gift to each other.  Over the years, my daughter Nina and I have enjoyed the colors at  the Dallas Arboretum and Fort Worth botanical gardens, the magnificent art at the Kimble and the Dallas Art Museums plus invigorating hikes at area state parks. I plan my trips in December and January to see my son in Colorado and we celebrate Christmas AND our birthdays. 

My gifts for Mason are more traditional, but I do try to shop at second hand stores for toys and clothes.

How to lessen your carbon footprint and your consumption this holiday season

  • Shop at thrift store: Goodwill, Salvation Army and any number of church run thrift stores plus second hand stores.
  • Shop garage and yard sales: I’ve found interesting one of a kind items at incredibly low prices. 
  • Shop local: Small business in your town. Downtowns are a great place to find locally owned boutiques, cafes and other interesting retail stores.
  • Gift an experience: There’s no need for the experience to be elaborate or expensive. It can be as simple as a walk in a local park and a cup of coffee. The main component is quality time spent together in laughter and conversation, enjoying each other’s company.

Does your friend or family member really need another coffee mug, scarf or an item to collect dust or get in the way? Do you?

Whatever you gift or receive this holiday season, may you rediscover the spirit of the season: peace, hope and love; and may you do more than just survive the holidays.

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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