Based on Christmas pasts and the to-do list for Christmas future, certain feelings start to rise up and potent emotions start to percolate as the infamous December day quickly approaches. These feelings may take the form of excitement, anticipation, stress, anxiety, depression, indifference, disdain or just plan exhaustion.
Why do we put such pressure or expectations on ourselves? Why do we give the power to society to dictate what an ideal Christmas looks like? Christmas and holiday traditions should be as varied as the people and families that take part. We design our homes, our family vacations and even carefully consider our designer dogs yet we subject ourselves to blindly pursue without questioning, the so-called "perfect Christmas" as outlined by the media and a "Hallmark Moment".
Take back "The Force" and boldly ask the question, "What does Christmas mean to me?". Then use that response and that desire, to make your holiday plan of attack. The meaning of Christmas to me, is about gathering the family to celebrate and experience some quality time together. It is all about sharing food, laughter and memories while making new memories in the process. It is about re-connecting and not controlling, loving and accepting each other and smiling no matter what present is sent your way.
No family or family get-together is perfect. However, it is the imperfections - be it the dried out turkey, the fallen tree and broken ornaments or the antics of the eccentric family member, that provide some lasting memories and a unique family gathering. Save the ideal magical Christmas for Hollywood.
So decide what a meaningful Christmas season looks like to you and then take steps to go after it.
Here is my list and possible suggestions:
Meaningful: Gift giving without going deep into debt
Suggestions: Cut down on the number of gifts; substitute a visit instead of a gift; budget ahead of time; start in November to avoid last minute shopping frenzy (unless you love the excitement but go with a list); watch fliers for sales; shop online deals; stick to your list and budget; give homemade gifts of things you love to do anyway
Meaningful: Quality time with family
Suggestions: Accept help with food preparation and clean up; keep menu simple and prepare what you can ahead of time; cook and bake in a way that is creative and pleasing to you and not because "you have to"; ordering in is not a sin; talk, play games, make music, be silly
Meaningful: Less stress
Suggestions: Have no expectations; ignore the onslaught of T.V. and store holiday messages and hype; do a little each day; make a list to help keep the head clear; simplify food, decorations or card giving based on your level of creative energy; be real not perfect; empower others by asking for their help and making use of their talents
We "Go Green" when we talk about about eating and the environment so why not apply the same concept and slogan to Christmas as well.
Going Green for the holiday season could mean:
- Go simple in preparations
- Less plastic presents; more personal presence
- More sharing of what we all have (love) and less concern about buying what we don't have (material)
Make the focus of this Christmas more about "being present" rather than "giving presents". December 25th will come and go as it always does so why not take control and give it the meaning you want and avoid the black hole of commercialism. If you do, you will open yourself up to more joy and peace this holiday season - what better, heartfelt gift can you offer your loved ones than this?