I don't know about you, but I was first introduced to the idea of a wish-list app last year, a few months before Christmas. Up until then I had never used any app like it, nor did I realize that it would lead to learning so much about myself as well as a major shift in my mindset. Perhaps something in my story will resonate with you and if so, I'd love to hear about it!
This whole thing started with me walking away from a 13 year marriage and a VERY controlling religion. Why is that relevant? Well, in this particular religion (read 'cult') the celebration of holidays was not allowed. No birthdays. No Christmas. No anything, you get the idea. Even wanting anything material was considered a borderline sin, so the thought of making a wish list was almost offensive. Afterall, I wouldn't want to make myself look greedy or my family look bad by *gasp* wanting something.
Fast forward to the winter of 2020, post lockdown and me being introduced to my first ever 'Holiday Season'. It was overwhelming, to say the very least. I was included in the celebrations of some new friends that were helping me get on my feet after changing my whole life and being shunned by anyone I had ever known or called family. Perhaps the mindset I got stuck in at this point was from my upbringing, or partly from the shocking experience of diving headfirst into the consumerism side of the holiday spirit. Whatever it was, I was not a fan of what I had witnessed over the couple of days of (greedy and insincere) festivities.
I decided shortly thereafter that I did not want to spend any more time in my life on 'the most wonderful time of the year.' That's right, I was boycotting holidays and not just Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthdays too, heck even Arbor day could take a hike for all I cared at that point.
Then, I met my current partner, and of course his family could not wait to spend the holidays together for the first time since Covid, just my luck. Since I didn't want to come off as the curmudgeonly new girlfriend who might as well be related to the grinch, I decided to dip my toes in the pumpkin spice water by visiting for Thanksgiving. The next thing I knew I heard myself agreeing to all the upcoming Christmas joy planned by my partner's uber organized stepmom. This included, but was not limited to, matching pajamas, hot chocolate by the fire, two dinners and a breakfast, and of course the dreaded exchanging of gifts. I was not looking forward to that last part at all, considering how off-putting it was that first year and how I had been raised to feel about covetousness. Cut me a little slack here though, I am still pretty new at all of this.
I remember my adverse attitude when I got an email with a link to Things To Get Me, the app the family would be using to create a wish list of items they wanted to see under their perfectly trimmed tree. I was incredulous, how selfish, how dare they actually want something and then have the nerve to tell me about it! Yeah, I had some negativity to work on, but I got there. After several email and text reminders from 'step mom' I finally sat down to make a list and choose what to get for everyone for the impending celebration. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to create an account on Things To Get Me, and create my list as well as view everyone else's. It felt like a burden had been lifted off my shoulders by not having to guess what to get for the people I didn't know that well but wanted to make a good impression on. As time went on I even became a little obsessed with checking my list to see what had been marked off! Without even realizing that a change had happened, I had become genuinely excited for something I previously decided to hate.
Christmas weekend came, we drank our hot cocoa bombs, we ate, alot. We took pictures in our matching p.j.'s next to the coordinated, monogrammed stockings, and yes the dogs had matching outfits too. I put the gifts I hand wrapped under the tree, feeling self-satisfied and confident knowing that everyone would be getting something they needed or wanted and would be happy. I also felt a little giddy while eying the gifts that were for me. Surprisingly, already knowing what you're getting doesn't take away the excitement of actually getting presents, who knew?!
The gift exchange was a success with no stress before, during or after, and to my surprise, my heart was full. I was happy and little by little I realized that I was enjoying a holiday. I felt so grateful to be a part of the celebration alongside a family that was so happy to be together, and that was so welcoming to me, an outsider who had a less than stellar attitude going into it all. I truly believe that I owe this turnaround to my partner and his family, especially his efficacious stepmother, because she introduced me to the Things To Get Me wish list app that enhanced the occasion.
That is how a wish list played a major part in me learning to change my mindset about long held beliefs regarding celebrations and gift giving in general, allowing more love and positivity into my life. It also helped me to examine how I felt about receiving gifts and being more open to the generosity of others. Maybe you can relate to some of this or maybe not, but either way I hope you will look for even just a small way to allow more light into your life making your heart just a little more full as well.