It’s easy to get besieged by the sheer volume the holiday season brings with it. And while much of what we are actually celebrating and why gets buried underneath our “list” (which seems to grow each year, and not always in proportion to our bank account), there’s plenty of time to resurrect the Joy the season has to offer by revisiting what it actually means to give!
Janice is one of us. She has two sons and a meddling ex-husband (who plays “Who’s the better gift-giver/ parent?” every Christmas), a new husband and 2 stepdaughters (who celebrate Hanukkah) in a now-gigantic blended family who all expect her to perform magic this time each year: being the perfect hostess, shopper, decorator, baker, and bank for her relatives who conveniently never have two pennies to rub together this time of year. Oh and she has to look great, while making this season one to remember for them all!

Then there’s Marcus, whose sister is single, which drives his family crazy and for the last ten years is the focus of their family’s loud discussion at the dinner table over latkes and kugel. Is she bringing someone, will we like this one? What does he do? The last one was no good, the one before was too young. She’s getting old, what about having children? Do we get whoever she brings a gift, and if so, what? Every year Marcus contemplates moving to Iceland, joining the Peace Corps, or placing a personal ad in search of a husband for his sister in the Alaskan gazette.

Any of this ring a bell? If it does, it’s likely because these are snapshots of how many of us feel when staring down the holiday track and thinking maybe it would be best to jump in front of the proverbial train than deal with “it all” over again.
Okay, take a deep breath. Really. I mean it, a good, deep, audible one and then find some pen and paper. (Automatic writing is magical and amazing and best in your own handwriting.)

1)At the top of the page, write “Giving is about” and then take the pen or pencil and put it in your non-dominant hand and go. Let whatever comes up, come. Doesn’t matter, even if at first it seems like gibberish. Write for at least 3-5 minutes. Repeat if necessary to get it all out and down.

2)Next make a list of all the people that you would want to be with if Christmas was the last time you would see them.
3)Then next to each person’s name ask yourself, “This holiday, how can I be of service to (insert loved one’s name)? What offering will contribute to their joy, wellbeing, or feeling loved and seen by me?” And just sit quietly and see what comes forward. Then write this down next to each one.

It’s amazing how when we come from that place, that real and true place, the answers just come. Its stops being about what we should give or that we have to give, and returns to the holiday’s original intention, what can I offer and share with you in love! All that usual judgment about it being “right” or “good enough” will most likely diminish, ‘cause that’s what happens when we give from our whole heart and soul!

Here are a few similar holiday self-inquiry questions to sit with; see where these may lead:
What am in service to this holiday season?
How can I serve you?
And a few feel-good creative gift ideas:
Sending letters to our folks in the service; one place is
Baking, sewing, knitting, planting, painting your love, and offering it to those who have no family at an old folks home or homeless shelter!
Start your own private warm coat or clothing drive and make a night of it, invite friends to come and bring a gift that you can all donate!
Pick a local family who needs your help to celebrate the season!
To see more suggestions from Maryanne on how to have some unique fun this holiday check out her video:

Author's Bio: 

Maryanne Comaroto is an award-winning author, coach, therapist and radio personality. She is a frequent guest on TV and radio talk shows around the country. Five million people monthly worldwide listen to her three radio talk shows each week on On Maryanne Live! she interviews experts in the self-awareness field such as Ram Dass, Dr. Helen Fisher, Jean Houston, and more: on The Power of We with her husband David Raynal, they look at fresh ways of changing old paradigms. Heart Talk with The Sole Sisters Kris Carlson, Eve Hogan, and Maryanne repaves the road less traveled, with stories of waking up and staying awake real-time. 
Maryanne is the relationship advice columnist for The Beverly Hills Times, and a go-to expert for Hollywood Life. Her blogs can be found on dozens more sites. Maryanne conducts transformational workshops for men and women, awarding the Certificate of Responsible Relationship (CORR®).
She is the author of the award-winning book, Skinny, Tan and Rich: Unveiling the Myth and Hindsight: What You Need To Know Before You Drop Your Drawers! along with a DVD workbook and CD series. Maryanne translates life’s complexities into practical tools for creating healthy, fulfilling, sustainable relationships.