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A New Christmas Tradition

Happy New Year, everyone! Can you believe it?! A new year, a new DECADE! 2020 here we are. Let that sink in for a minute...

I hope everyone was able to enjoy time with friends and family during the Holidays. It's so crucial to really take advantage of the downtime (if you're fortunate enough to get it) during this time. I know I thoroughly enjoyed escaping the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles for my hometown, Sacramento. Being there allows me to quiet my mind, body and spirit and is the best way to end the year and more importantly to start a new one.

I wanted to share something really special that my family and I decided to do this year during Christmas. This was the first year where I really didn't want to focus on the "gift-giving" element of Christmas. Instead I wanted to highlight the magic of the season when it comes to spending time with friends and family, being thankful for what you have, reflecting on the year, and looking ahead toward the new year. In addition to the fact that I just really didn't want "things" and didn't really want to buy them for other people who may or may not even like said "things."

That being said, my mom, boyfriend and I decided to start a new gift giving tradition, one that my mom had told me she read about in a magazine last year and one that I immediately remembered as I was dreading going out to the mall with everyone and their mother three days before Christmas to get gifts just for the sake of getting gifts. I mean it's Christmas, that's what you're supposed to do, right?

First, we each wrote down four different things - 1). Something we want, 2). Something we need, 3) Something we'll wear, and 4) Something we'll read. I added this little detail knowing that each of us might not exactly know all those items for every single person and since this activity was done in the spirit of getting things for each other that we really wanted or needed, figured it was an important detail.

After that, we drew names (I know what you're thinking, there's only 3 of us, but bear with me) to see who we were going to be buying gifts for. Adam was shocked when I was able to guess who he had pulled...Ahh the art of deduction. If possible, I would recommend having more than three people participate. Unfortunately (but not really at all because I wouldn't change it for the world) my little family is limited.

From there, we went about our merry way buying those four gifts for each person. It was honestly the best Christmas I've had (during my adult life).

This year I was especially grateful for my family as it was the first time in two years that my mom was healthy. Last year she was going through chemotherapy and radiation and the year before she was on bedrest awaiting a meniscus surgery. This year was something truly special in more ways than one.

Adam and I didn't do gifts at all for Christmas this year, which may or may not come as a shock to you. You didn't get a gift for your boyfriend, say what?! We both had similar feelings toward buying gifts and instead decided to take the money we would have spent on gifts and put it toward a weekend in Austin running a half marathon. It helps that Adam's birthday is in January during MLK weekend so it's kind of a double-whammy celebration but the point is we didn't waste money on material things but instead we're creating memories in a city we love.

As I get older, I realize it's not the "things" I receive in life that make me happy. It's the moments, the experiences, the memories that change my life and make me the person I am today. I would rather spend my money on traveling, fitness classes, taking classes, or just experiencing life.

Don't get me wrong, material things are nice but the happiness that comes from them is fleeting. What really lasts is memories. This Christmas I'm grateful for the new tradition we implemented and while we did get a few material things that we "wanted" and "needed," I'll forever hold on to the memories we created implementing this new tradition.

(Originally Published January 12, 2020)

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