Ask a woman, and she'll tell you, no part of the year is more countdown-worthy than the stretch of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas break. Its pending arrival signals the official start of "Don’t nobody ask me for nothing," “Find It Yourself,” and “Ask somebody else I’m on vacation,” season.
Yet, year after year, despite bold declarations and expectations for hours of uninterrupted Lifetime movie binges, our desires are quickly dashed by the never ending demands anxiously awaiting our delayed arrival.
In an instant, with no mercy, our dream for total obscurity instaneously crashes.
We brace for impact, knowing we’ve been here before (Last Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary, and most holidays of note) and likely the ones to come.
Every holiday season, without fail, instead of landing on Lifetime, women end up in an episode of Cheers, where everybody knows our name and isn't afraid to use it Over and Over and Over and Over and Over, And did I say, Over again.
We show up (like we always do) to the site of our holiday vacation destination without even a chance to connect with our restless inner pleas
To Take a break.
Tell them to figure it out.
Let the ball drop.
And just be.
Instead, we enter our inner sanctum (better known as our residence) full throttle as
the quicker, picker, upper,
Ready to clean up yet another mess
The truth is for many women, while their loved ones are standing in overcrowded commercial - induced aisles scouring for their perfect gift,
Those same women are knee deep in demands, requests and to-dos.
Their loved ones, spending hours in lines shopping, often never consider that the women they’re shopping for can very likely buy their own Victoria’s Secret bathrobe, Bath and Body Works lotion, or Michael Kors handbag.
Most women, with one click, can make packages show up at their door in less than 48 hours by simply moving one of the 911 items in their Amazon cart from “Saved for later” to “Buy Now.”
After countless hours of toil, jam packed to-do lists, superhuman attentiveness,
and response times,
What women really want for Christmas is
Women want peace.
And a little bit more initiative from their loved ones to actually do what she wishes before she has to tell them.
She wants to be seen, not just for what she does, but for who she is.
She wants to be heard and not repeat what she asked 1.5 million more times because no one took the time to read, or better yet, google the request.
In fact, what women really want is for those who care about her to recognize the dam on the brink of breech that she’s kept silent (for longer than she can remember).
She wants her people
to show up at her door like she shows up at theirs Without reservation, Without hesitation, But with the “of course she’ll be there” Expectation.
So, yes, throw out the antiquated idea that diamonds are a girl’s best friend and remember, it’s being valued like a diamond that she really wants.
The truth is the vision you conjured up for a perfect Christmas
Just might not be hers.
In fact, you likely need to put together a New Christmas list that pushes beyond the walls of Nordstrom or Target and into the inner sanctum of their physical, mental, spiritual and emotional wishlist.
If loved ones want to get this year's Christmas list right, you can start by asking her these 4 questions:
How can I help you meet your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs during the Christmas break? She definitely has some, but do you know what they are? Ask.
How can I lighten your load? Your superwoman may be dying trying to save everyone else’s world. What can you purchase that will help lighten her load? Order Take out (without her asking). Take the laundry to a laundry service to be washed and folded. Ask her for a grocery list and go get it (please ask her for the list and don't just take it upon yourself). Trust me there's something in particular she really wants that you know nothing about.
When would be a good time for me (and loved ones) to, "Get lost?” Give her time at home alone, so she can bathe in silence, and top it off with an Uber Eats gift card for takeout.
Is there is a gift I can give you this year that will make your life easier or better in 2024? The goal is to be pro-active, so next year doesn’t end as intensely as this year.
Now I’m going to give you the real juice. After writing a 100% unscientifically correct Facebook post asking women this one question, “Ladies, what do you REALLY want for Christmas (not what they think you want. Lol).” I received over 200 responses. And while there were a few requests for the traditional new car, vacuum cleaner, and handbag, the VAST majority of responses desperately requested solitude, relief from the daily grind, childcare, personal assistant services, and professional organizers. Yep! Stuff most of the folks braving angry parking lots aren’t even thinking about.
In fact, less than 10% of the commenters wanted a physical gift to put under the tree.
Here’s the list I compiled based on my unscientific research of what she really wants:
Hire help. She’s drowning in demands. Come in for the rescue. Hire someone or solicit someone to help deep clean the house. I'm telling you there are few things more sensual than coming home to a really, really clean house.
She wants solitude, time to think, be, and simply have fun. A gift certificate to a hotel would allow her to schedule a staycation at her convenience.
She’s afraid all her hard work will fall apart if she goes away. Buy her an airline gift certificate for her to schedule a trip to refuel.
A package of massage services would really hit the spot. Running around and being responsible for a million other people’s demands is exhausting. While a one hit wonder is nice, repeat hits make an impact. Get the monthly package.
A meal prep service or food delivery gift cards - she’s tired of cooking. Period.
Coaching services - many women want new jobs and careers and making a major pívot is typically an inside—out job. Get her help. I’m available to help at https://sparkherblaze.com/ (shameless plug). She may need someone to help her bridge the gap between where she currently is and where she aspires to be.
Reliable childcare Although care.com doesn’t offer gift cards, contributing towards child or elder care, so she can schedule a worry-free outing would make a huge difference.
Believe and Invest in her dream. If she's expressed an interest in a dream or passion, a gift certificate for classes, coaches or courses will bring a smile to her face.
Schedule A photo shoot with her make up done and a new outfit, even if you take the photos yourself. She wants to feel beautiful. Make it an event. Filled with more “you’re so beautifuls” than you can count. You won’t regret it.
Help with organization and clutter. She’s so caught up taking care of everything else, some important areas may have fallen through the cracks. A clean, organized house or room can be a woman’s dream come true.
An assistant. She needs help. Virtual assistant services are easy to Google.
Bottom line, in 2024, carry more weight or find someone who can. Women are tired.
My Christmas wish is that the most undervalued, under appreciated, most promising asset in the world- have not just her physical but spiritual, mental, and emotional needs met this Christmas. Regardless of whether you have a person who can put these wishes on their list for you or not, you need to make sure you put them on your list. You deserve it. It’s one of the most selfless gifts you can give to yourself and the world- a woman who shows up in the world her whole, most beautiful, most purposeful self.
Najah Drakes is a Work-Life Balance Strategist, Personal Development Coach, and Self Care Expert at Spark Her Blaze. As a burnout survivor, she helps ambitious professionals achieve success beyond their resumes by taking back control of their calendar, time, and peace. She empowers leaders to purposefully achieve success in their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health while balancing their professional success. After over 20 years of working with multi-million dollar companies, Najah now uses her strategic and data analysis skills to help professionals harness the data of their lives to empower them to prioritize their well-being; systemize work, home, and life; and maximize peace, freedom, and time. She is a YouVersion (The Bible App) Partner and her Devotional, “It’s Time: 7 Time Management Strategies to Take Back Your Calendar, Reduce Overwhelm, and Flourish on Purpose has been completed by thousands.
Najah has been married for almost 23 years. She and her husband are the proud parents of 5 amazing sons.She can be reached at email@example.com.
LinkedIn: Najah (Ade) Drakes