I find myself thinking a lot about gifts these days. I mean, of course, I do. It’s Christmas and my 5 year old wants a Hatchimal. If you haven’t followed the saga of the Hatchimals this holiday season, think of Furbie frenzy with slightly less violence and slightly more online angst. The extreme difficulty of finding one of these blasted toys without paying a fortune or waiting in line for hours cannot be understated. If you are also the parent of the small child, you know how this sort of thing can easily get you questioning how much your love your child and the nature of that love.
Damn you, you stupid hatching devil toys. You are all my Ghosts of Christmas Parenting – past, present and future. So much parental angst. So little actual play value.
All the shiny things
It’s easy to get preoccupied by the things during this time of year. Mr. Romance and I are admittedly cheapskates when it comes to gift giving – at least compared to the national average of over $400 per child. Both of us came from a whole lot of nothing, so a fun-filled stocking and one to two truly awesome gifts seems like a good deal to us. We would be lying if we said we weren’t tempted to spend way more, even beyond our means, to give our kids and each other really jawdropping gifts. It would certainly have made my life a lot easier if I could have blithely paid the online scalpers their exorbitant prices of a Hatchidevil over beating myself up trying to find one at retail.
This choice to live simply, to not spend too much money on physical possessions gets thrown into stark relief when you scroll down your Facebook feed and see people talking about all the thing they have spent their money on. It’s worse possibly when you are part of a successful company like mine where many of the consultants pulls down multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings per year. These people have some nice stuff, yo. Like, really nice.
Curls versus Pearls
I recently joined Jilly Sue‘s Mastermind Group and one of the things she talks about it unfollowing anyone that causes you to compare yourself too much. This is no judgement on them, but rather a conscious decision to focus on you. I recently unfollowed a biggie producer in our company because, well, I guess I’m a green-eyed monster. I would see her posts about her $6000 sale weekends, the luxury car she bought her partner in cash, her million dollar home and all of it seems so unattainable that I want to to quit. I don’t want or need a luxury car or million dollar home, but loving my family as I do a little part of me thinks about how awesome it would be if I could provide good stuff like this for them. I start thinking about this stuff and soon I’m in a downward thought spiral.
There is another top earner that I have never felt a need to unfollow because practically every post on Facebook that she makes inspires the ever living heart out of me. She posts most often about her daughter who is a little curly-haired angel. You can’t look at her and now want to smooch those cheeks. I imagine this little girl has very nice things and lives in a very nice house. Her mother makes the kind of money that can provide a lot, but what I see, what she shares, are not the things her income provides – it’s the life that income has helped make. A life full of joy and laughter and time spent with people she loves.
Gifts with no price tag
The good news is there’s no way scalp joy, you can’t mark up the price on laughter and every moment spent with love is both free and priceless.
When you think about the holidays, about presents, when you wonder if this business is worth it, if you’ll make the money to buy the things you think you want, focus on the intangible gifts instead. Focus on hope and joy and independence. Focus on the freedom to make your schedule, to spend precious time with those you love, to set an example of shameless, passionate life.