I like to cook, but dreaded cooking when dishes and pans sat on dirty counters and overflowed my sink. When my house was cluttered I ate fast food. Not good for me, expensive, and I don’t feel great after I’ve eaten it.
I like to give, but dread the gift-giving of the holidays when loving intention is overwhelmed by depersonalized expectation. With the holiday cluttered, I give in to obligation. Not gratifying, costly and I don’t feel great after I’ve given.
Eating anything, because it had to be done. Holiday gifts to everyone, because it had to be done.
Giving wasn’t affordable, as cultural norms expanded my “should give to list”. Giving lost choice, feeling guilty, when I am the only person who did not tip. Giving lost intimacy, exchanging gift cards with extended family I rarely saw. Giving lost value when the holiday leaves no time to visit because we’re so busy exchanging and can’t even remember what we gave or received. I realized giving was gratifying when it met the love-use-need test. Otherwise, it is just clutter taking away from what I really want.
After a marathon gift-exchange my family always says, “Next year, we’ll all cut back”. Just like I used to say, “Tomorrow, I’ll get this house cleaned”. I spoke with a family member today. We said, “I love you but we don’t need anything. Let’s end this chaos and not exchange gifts”. I felt as I did when I first joined FlyLady. We asked other family members if they wanted to join us in ending the chaos of gift-giving. They said, “I love you. We don’t need anything. Let’s not exchange gifts”. I felt as I did the night I first shined my sink.
Christmas observed is peace. Christmas over-celebrated is chaos. FlyLady says there is a symbolic “shiny sink” in every room of the house. The made bed, the cleared kitchen table, the empty coffee table. A small babystep brings peace in the “Christmas Sink”. FLYing makes the holiday shine.