‘Tis the season to be jolly!
I realize that not everyone celebrates or likes Christmas, and I totally get it. (I’ve worked many a retail holiday. It’s true what they say…what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. )
Yet, I’m still one of those people who LOVES Christmas.
Tonight I’m giving myself a little time off Christmas duty to clear my head and get re-centered. With so much to do, I have trouble giving myself permission to relax. My husband and I have been out of town every weekend to spend time with family and friends. There are so many people who are important to us, and we do our best to let them know how much we love and appreciate them.
I believe in the peace, joy and good will toward man (365 days out of the year), and Christmas is how my religion celebrates that. I really love the peacefulness that surrounds the nativity story — a clear star in the dark sky, a brave pair of parents who are far from home. It is a time of abundant faith and joy, with the most meager and human of backdrops–a manger surrounded by barnyard animals.
I hate the heart-pounding panic of navigating holiday foot traffic in big box stores. (Amazon Prime is my BFF.) I also tend to get REALLY ambitious when it comes to projects, which pushes me to the brink of exhaustion sometimes. And to top it off, I’m a bit mule-headed so when I get my mind behind something, I just keep pushing.
I like to think of Christmas as a type of strength-building season, a time to open my heart a little wider and learn to love a little deeper. I pay special attention to the people who make me better, who challenge me, who bring me to a greater appreciation and gratefulness for life. For our family, it’s about spending time together, drinking wine and laughing until midnight. The joy of life is learning to love one another, and it’s a continuum of experiences. To me Christmas isn’t about the presents. It’s about the presence of love.
We didn’t have much growing up, but I remember our modest Christmases fondly (bonus of divorced parents? 2 Christmases!). I always had warm clothes and a few treats. I was a pretty easy-going kid. For years my greatest hobbies were visiting the libraries for books and writing in my journal. (Ooooh and sneaking on the phone late at night to talk to boys…heehee!) It’s strange how at 30, life already seems so much simpler “back then” — before the Internet, before I was exposed to the great big world.
And the world is ever-more demanding. Email, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat — I have about 67 running tabs with the people and topics I love. I rely on social media to connect me with a greater point of view than I would have on my own. BUT IT CAN BE UBER DISTRACTING, which is why I have to make a conscious effort to say ‘thank you’ to the people I care about. (It takes practice!)
My circle keeps getting bigger and bigger, which means more craftiness is required to give gifts on a budget. Sometimes I feel the Scrooge Syndrome creeping in, but it usually stops when if I take a step back and consider how fortunate I am and how much I could do without. On a daily basis, living with depression has been largely about finding affirmation of my self-worth.
I grappled with it for a long time.
In the end, I have realized that the one thing I truly want in life is to leave the world a better place, if only in my very small corner of existence. I have found that no matter how tough the times, I could still give back to others. Kind words, patience, tempered judgment, forgiveness — these are the gifts we can give 365 days a year.
Merry Christmas & God Bless!!