Ah Christmas — that free-flowing, relaxed, pressure free time that we can just put out feet up and enjoy those around us!! Those around us are those that we hold most dear and just enjoy having around all year-long; no pressure, no stress and of course no guilt! Such a wonderful time of the year!
Wait — What? You think I am crazy? Well, the jury is still out on that, but you may have a point about my opening statement. Most of us, myself included have had the exact opposite of the peaceful, joy filled experience referenced above at least once in our lives. We live in a time where there is much pressure in place to make the Holidays “just so,” throw the “perfect party,” or simply find “the” gift; we feel the need to match someone else’s idea of Holiday cheer or be labeled a failure by others, or even worse, by ourselves. If for some reason we don’t spend enough, look long enough or labor hard enough, our Holiday is a complete disaster and we may as well have just thrown in the towel to begin with because we knew from the outset that we were just not up to snuff, so why did we even try?! WHY oh WHY can’t Christmas just be over already!!???
OK — STOP!!! Breathe… good. Inhale…Exhale…good. Repeat as necessary — I’ll wait for you! 🙂
OK, better? Good..I am glad to help, even if just for a moment or two! In our quest for the perfect Holiday Season we have, for some inexplicable reason, been thrown into a tumultuous, chaotic whirlwind that has been allowed to consume our lives, all in the pursuit of acceptance, standing or pride. When we were kids — most of us anyway — Christmas was a magical and mysterious time where we were allowed to dream the impossible; we felt that nothing was out of reach. Then, sometime later we are thrust into the reality of adulthood and the magical became mundane and the mysterious the ordinary; the joy seemed to evaporate. Try as we might we never get back to the wide-eyed, eager excitement of youth — we must now pull out all the stops ourselves and make the mystery and magic on our own and we become overwhelmed. And no wonder — how can we ever match the memories of what used to be?!
Ok — I will give you that — there is no way to recreate the excitement and innocence of childhood, but we don’t need to. Christmas, regardless of what anyone tells you, is not about spending the most, partying the hardest or even about out doing Joe Cool. I daresay that if you stop and think for a moment and recall your favorite Christmas memory, you will find that it is something much more simple — more personal and intimate. It may not even be connected to Christmas Day itself; maybe it is just a feeling — something that no amount of money could buy, no party could outdo, and no gift could replace. That memory is what we are all striving to recreate in our own way and are at a loss as to how to get there.
For many of us our best Christmas memories come from our childhood; for others it is in a much more recent celebration. Either way, something about that memory is unique and endearing. The others involved may not even have a clue of how important and dear it is — that is the beauty of Christmas; even the most simple act or unexpected kindness can reach deep within our soul and impact us for the rest of our lives. Do you remember the time a family member arrived unexpectedly? Perhaps is was a much-needed hug from someone you admire? Maybe it is a simple handwritten note or hand drawn card? What about a phone call that leads to a conversation that leads to more calls and conversations? Nothing can compare to the value that these bring…no amount of money spent on the perfect gift, not the hours of shopping put into the gift’s selection nor the effort put into the party of the year.
So this year, let yourself off the hook and give yourself — and your family — a break. Stop for a while and figure out what you want from this Holiday; step back and figure out what is really important. For some that may mean scaling back on the gifts or attending one less party or two. For others it could mean picking up the phone; for others it means showing up or just being there. Whatever it is, if you do it from the heart it will count — it might just become someone’s favorite Christmas memory. You will never know until you try!
May your Holidays be full of Peace and Joy this year — the rest will all work out! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
Let’s see what’s next…Thanks for reading!