I decided not to bake cookies for the holidays this year. I started baking Christmas cookies over ten years ago. I used to make huge trays of them and gave them to family members, neighbors, and coworkers. It would take me days to finish them all.
As the years progressed I began paring down the amount I made but I couldn’t quit altogether. Even when I quit working I still made way too many and struggled to think of people I could give them to. That left me with way too many cookies to eat.
So last year after I gave my cookies to family and friends I decided not to bake anymore for the holidays. I had said I wasn’t going to bake anymore for a few years now but this is the first year that I actually stuck with my decision. Part of me was glad, relieved even, but there was also a part of me that felt like a failure.
Then I stopped for a minute and actually thought about why I started baking all those cookies to begin with. If you’ve followed my blog for a while then you know that I grew up without Christmas or birthdays or any holidays at all. So when I walked away from my family and the religion I was raised in I finally had the freedom to celebrate any holiday I wanted in any way I wanted.
It was a bit overwhelming to say the least. I had to have all the Christmas decorations I could find. I had to do all the traditions. I had to buy the perfect gifts for everyone. I had to become a big ball of anxiety and stress…
Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!
So after a while I was truly sucking the life and joy out of the holiday. I was making myself and everyone around me miserable and for what? So I could fulfill some need, fill a void, make others make up for what my parents could never give me?
I’m telling you, motivations matter. Sure it’s good to have a reason for what we do but only if we’re honest with ourselves. If we give only to get then what’s the point of giving. If we expect something in return is it truly a gift – even if all we’re expecting is acknowledgement and adoration?
i.e. my Christmas cookies…
This year I could finally let all of that go. I don’t need attention or approval from anyone especially if it comes at the expense of my peace of mind and joy. I can now give because I want to make someone else happy. I can spend my time doing the important things that will add something positive to other people as well as me.
And all of a sudden the stress and anxiety of the season is all but gone! Best decision I ever made was to stop baking for the holidays. Sometimes the best thing we can do is learn to say no. To others but also to ourselves.