It's that time of the year again. Just when you finally got all the lights down off the house and the decorations from last year put away, it's time to start dragging them out again. Now is the time that all the fun begins....planning parties, mailing cards, drawing names, checking each and every bulb on 250 strands of lights, baking fruit cake that never gets ate, fighting a sea of violent shoppers for the best bargin......the list goes on and on. For all the effort that goes into the whole season, it seems to end in an almost anticlimactic event. The kids wake up Christmas morning and are soon lost in their new toys, the big dinner usually takes less than 20 minutes to consume. Before long, hordes of guests are leaving you to the largest kitchen mess of the year (besides Thanksgiving) that will take close to a week to clean up. When it's all over, you sit back in your easy chair and stare blindly off into space and ask yourself why anybody would want to go through all the hassle.
Every year at this time I hear lots of comments about Christmas, some hate it while others love it. Amongst those that hate the holiday, it's not that they're Grinch's or Scrooge's, it's just that the previous paragraph perfectly describes their hectic and stressful holiday schedule. I hear comments from people that Christmas is overly commercialized, extremely stressful, depressing. For those of you that fit into that category, I offer this to you, the true meaning of Christmas is....whatever you want it to be.
Remember this, nobody can force you to do anything on Christmas. Nobody can force you to load your credit cards, spend hours in the kitchen, risk your life climbing on the roof. There are few things in life that are certain, but I can assure that the harder you try to make things perfect, the more you will be certainly disappointed at the outcome. You cannot put peace, joy and happiness on a schedule and you cannot create fond memories by trying too hard.
This year, I would encourage you to try something different. Question all of your holiday traditions. Is a tradition something you do because it brings joy to everybody (including yourself) or is it something you do because it's always been done that way? Time to throw out some of your old traditions and take a fresh look at how you approach the holiday season.
First off, ask yourself the simple question; What is the true meaning of Christmas?
I won't try to answer that for you, that is up to you to decide. Once you decide what the meaning of Christmas is, take a look at everything you do for the holidays and ask yourself if it really supports that idea. Do you really need the Fine China for Christmas dinner or will it work with paper plates and Dixie cups? Do you really need to stress over small details or can the idea of Christmas be supported by simply going with the flow and letting the season play out without your careful choreography?
Take this year and make things different. Throw out at least one long held tradition. Allow the Christmas season to one of enjoying family and friends and stop trying to create a memory making environment. Once you decide to kick back and relax and stop trying to control everything, only then will you discover the true meaning of Christmas.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all!!!