Off The Grind

Off The Grind Christmas 2013

It was the night before Christmas and we were all off the grind…

The Holidays are busy time for most, and a stressful time for many… in a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 75% respondents reported unhealthy levels of stress during the Holidays. The kids feel it, too… 91% of children aged 7-17 perceive that their parents are unusually stressed during the Holiday period. The top reasons for Holiday Stress?… the financial impact and obligation pressure associated with gift giving.

For an off the grinder, it doesn’t have to be that way…

Very early in our relationship, my wife and I stopped exchanging presents for all events including birthdays and Christmas. It was a great stress reliever and we have extended the concept to friends and family as best we can.

It’s not that we are anti gift giving. Far from it. We love randomly finding things people would like and giving it to them for no other reason than we think they would like it. It’s the obligatory present-giving-grind we object to and choose not to play the game when possible.

A source of massive economic distortion

As you may know, the true meaning of Black Friday isn’t about shopping deals. It’s based on the day that many retail operations turn a profit. In retail, it takes until November to get out of the “red” for the year and make some money.

And the necessity of “good Holiday sales figures” for the economy as a whole has ~ at least in my opinion ~ taken a lot of the “Christmas” out of Christmas.

An Off The Grind Holiday Season

As an off-the-grind practitioner, you can make your own rules. You can get back to the true spirit of the Holidays and ditch the “Holiday Stress” that ~ according to a Harris Interactive study ~ affects 90% of the population.

It may not be a “frictionless choice” at first ~ the on-the-grinders may not like the way you aren’t playing the game they way they think you should ~ but eventually, they will get used to it.

And even the kids will begin to understand and appreciate new concepts if you bring them around to it.

Here is how Sammantha is doing exactly that…

A couple of days ago my 8-year-old cousin told me that he hopes he gets “a bunch of presents” from Santa this year.

Now I fully understand him being a child, excited about Santa Claus, and getting toys. But I think we should all work on making Christmas more about family and friends and less about toys.

After I thought over what my cousin said, I responded to him just like this, “Christmas is not all about the toys though. Our greatest gift is simply life. We should be thankful for the time we have together with our family and friends. Ask Santa to help the people who don’t have clothes, food, and even homes.”

Now, I knew he will still be getting presents this year, but after I said that, he immediately started asking about people in need and replied “Yes, I think Santa should help them before worrying about my toys.”

And that is how we start showing our kids that Christmas isn’t all about opening our presents but opening our hearts! You see, Christmas is not just once a year like everyone may believe. I see Christmas as love in action. Every time we meet new friends, every time we love, when we spend time with family, and when we give to others it’s Christmas!

off-the-grind-holiday-dec2013-no-type-bSomeone you’re nuts about

A few nights ago my wife and I were walking up our driveway and treated to a big beautiful “Honeymooners” moon coming up over the trees. It reminded me of the old Honeymooners episode “Twas The Night Before Christmas” which I believe is loosely based on the 1906 short story by O. Henry called The Gift of the Maji.

In case you’re not familiar with The Honeymooners, it’s a classic 1950s show starring Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden. After a little bit of turmoil, the Christmas episode ends with a speech by Ralph ~ delivered in the way that made Ralph an endearing character and Jackie Gleason “the great one” to fellow comedians and actors ~ to his wife Alice…

You know something, sweetheart?

Christmas is… well, it’s about the best time of the whole year. When you walk down the streets, even for weeks before Christmas comes, and there’s lights hanging up, green ones and red ones, sometimes there’s snow and everyone’s hustling some place.

But they don’t hustle around Christmastime like they usually do. You know, they’re a little more friendlier… they bump into you, they laugh and they say, “Pardon me. Merry Christmas”… especially when it gets real close to Christmas night. Everybody’s walking home, you can hardly hear a sound. Bells are ringin’, kids are singing, the snow is coming down.

And boy what a pleasure it is to think that you’ve got some place to go to. And that the place that you’re going to, there’s somebody in it that you really love.

Some one you’re nuts about…. Merry Christmas.

And a warm and wonderful Holiday to you from

Sammantha, Pam, Jeff, and the team at Off The Grind