Friday, December 21, 2012
I'm On the Naughty List... Or Am I?
I am on the naughty list this year.
If you celebrate any sort of St. Nicholas gift giving tradition, or even if you don't, the mention of the naughty list evokes some sort of emotion or connection to the idea of not being good enough for gifts. Being relegated to one or the other list puts a label on value and worth, and implies judgement of some kind. All year long, parents use the persuasion factor (OK, guilt and fear factor) of the dreaded "naughty list" to get kids to behave. If you have kids you may have used the same tactic to get your kids to stop arguing, to clean their rooms, or to behave. You may remember the terror the "naughty list" brought to your heart when you were a child.
This year, I fell short this year. I missed the "nice" list and landed myself on the naughty one.
The social expectation of the winter holidays centers around gifts and decorations, holiday letters filled with all the goings on in one's family, a model worthy family photo card sent to each and every one of your 200 closest friends, or at least a hand signed pre printed card. Social etiquette and timing in these expectations is that by a particular date, they are received and fawned over by the recipients. I didn't meet these expectations. I mailed packages late which will most likely not be received by December 25th. I didn't even send a single Christmas Card.
As silly as it sounds I truly struggled about not getting cards out, not to mention the late gift. Whether the recipients were people that I truly wanted to send holiday greetings to, or our historical card exchange was simply the obligatory "I'll send you one because you sent me one", I feared judgement. I feared the judgement of those who were on top or their game, getting cards and packages by the end of November. I even feared the judgment of those who didn't plan on sending holiday greetings my way, but because of some social construct saw it as the respectful thing for me to send them greetings. My lack of sending holiday cards landed me on the naughty list.
Funny how even when we are grown, we still feel bound by the list. The things that put us on one or the other are not the same as when we were kids, but they are still there. We feel our worth and value tied to particular things and expectations of family, friends, society, and especially ourselves. Whether it is the perception we get from those around us (which by the way, is often us just being stuck in our own heads), or our own judgment of what we feel qualifies us for the lists, we still place ourselves on the naughty or nice list.
Did you get that last sentence? WE still place ourselves on the naughty or nice list. No one else does. We do.
Women Enough - NO ONE HAS THE POWER TO PUT YOU ON THOSE LISTS EXCEPT YOU! Cut yourself some slack. Things happen throughout the year that throw a wrench in our lives. Stresses, challenges, joys, opportunities... all of those things affect how we manage life, including the holidays. There are some years that we are just plain tired and can't get to everything that is expected of us, and everything that we expect of ourselves. IT'S OK!
"Perfect" holidays only happen on Christmas Cards. Truth be told, I'd much rather live my real life holidays with the real life experiences. And, I won't put myself on any list because my holidays don't look like a card.